(Part 1 of 2-part blog)
If any of you are on the mailing list for the Toys for Troops e-newsletter, you'll know that I launched a big announcement last night. Since I've told 500 people there, I don't want to keep you out of the loop, and I'm announcing it here now, too, along with bonus bits.
Do you remember my telling you about my cousin Richard being called up in the Army Reserves, after living in Germany for the last 30 years or so? (Read about it here)
Richard was not deployed to Iraq, but is spending a year stateside. While he's here, he's been running around rallying for our cause, trying to find folks to partner up with us. I get emails from him, periodically, asking if I got a phone call from this reserve, or that Sargeant Major. Noop. Nothing. Haven't heard a thing.
Ah, but last week, we hit paydirt.
Last week, I received a phone call from Sara, the Family Readiness Support Assistant of the Warrior Transition Battalion in Fort Gordon, Georgia. "Your cousin told me to call you..." she began. And she told me her story, and I told her ours, and we decided to get off the phone and stew on things.
Sara is in charge of bringing in the families of wounded soldiers, to meet them when they fly in to the WTB. She's on the horn, notifying wives and parents, getting them on a plane, and on their way to Fort Gordon, pronto.
Look, if someone calls you to tell you that your spouse or your child has been hurt, and gives you information about what flight to grab...are you going to remember to grab your baby's favorite teddy bear? Your toothbrush? A pad of paper to jot down what the physician tells you, and make notes of phone numbers?
Me neither. And neither, apparently, do many, many of the families that come flying in to Fort Gordon. They are, understandably, distraught. They face hours in waiting rooms. Children are restless. Everyone gets a little hungry. And bored.
Family Services at the WTB...they could use a few things, to ease the arrival of these families. A few beanies, maybe, to give to the kids? Toothbrushes? Lip balm? Coloring books for the children, and oh! Puzzle books, even the adults get bored and need a distraction.
Stew I did. I was a caged lion when I got off the phone. Pacing, thinking, oh, I just need to leave early today, leave early, I say! I didn't leave early, but I made a few phone calls. To Marcee, our secretary: We have a potential new project, do you have time for this in your life?" To Hal Loebach, the director of the Chanute Air Museum. To Jeff, the VP: What do you think about this?
And back to Sara, on the same day: "We can do this."
Now. Go Read the Announcement. Scroll down, and see what we're going to do.
Oh, and when I say we, I mean "us" and "you."