To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
SPC Brandt is one of the soldiers who read and responded to the Veteran's Day letters. She is also someone I am proud to call a friend.
I just wanted to say again how grateful I (and everyone else here) am for the letters and pictures from the kids back in the states. It was wonderful to hear about all of you and I really appreciate the time you spent to send us mail. I hope you guys are all doing well, and you are heroes to all of us.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Many Thanks to "Olde Guy" for "Walking before them and understanding their plight, and wanting to help, with no need for recognition."
You might not need recognition "Olde Guy" but you deserve it all the same.
I would also like to send a special thanks to one of my oldest and dearest, friends Kevin. One good thing about that 3rd deployment.....you inspired all of this. Thank you for helping me, help your brothers and sisters who sacrifice so much for me and my loved ones.
And to My Staff Sergeant- This project has given many gifts, and getting to become friends with you is one of them.
Thank You All
By Michael Marks
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
Friday, December 11, 2009
This is a display made from letters I sent to the USO in Qatar. The USO is a place where soldiers go for R&R (rest and recovery.) The letters are from Mrs. Bricker's Third Grade class. The pictures are of my children in front of our "Warrior Wall" which consist of pictures sent by soldiers we have supported, and the Veteran's Day Parade in Susanville, California.
The Third Grade letters were sent to the USO in Qatar, and to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far we have received responses from three different soldiers. Two soldiers were Army, and one was Air Force. They were happy to answer the children's questions.
What do I write in my letter to a solider?
Write as if you are writing to a long lost friend that you have not seen in a while. Tell them all about what is important to you. Feel free to ask questions you are curious about, more times than naught you will get a response back.
Where do you get the addresses for the soldiers?
Some come from friends and family. I also welcome addresses from the neighbors brother's sister's girlfriend's best friend. If you know someone deployed, contact me. I will put them on our mailing list. The rest I get from Anysoldier.com This is a site started by a solider who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep his soldiers moral up. Currently soldiers register on the site for correspondence and care package items, normally telling a little about themselves, and their units. The soldiers registered at this site share everything. Higher ranking Officers and Enlisted men register on behalf of their soldiers making sure the letters, and care packages go to the soldiers who do not get mail, or live at the furthest ends of the Area of Operation.
How do you pick which soldiers to send correspondence to?
My ideal goal would be to send correspondence to every deployed soldier. Realistically I try to send correspondence to the troops in the farthest FOB, COB, and FB's. (Forward Operating Base, Combat Operating Base, Fire Base) because they are the most isolated. I also look for soldiers who specifically say they would like letters and pen pals.
Why do you collect artwork to send as well as letters, and poems?
Because a pictures says a thousand words, right? I also don't want to leave the younger kids out. I have preschoolers that love to draw pictures about what's important to them to send to the troops. The troops enjoy these, just as much as letters. Kids in general are entertaining, and just because the troops aren't around kids, doesn't mean they should miss the entertainment.
Below I have comprised a list of the most frequently request items by soldiers. This list will change periodically depending on weather, location, and needs of the soldiers. Please remember if you buy something unusual to send, it must fit in a 12 X 12 X 6 box. Thank you.
Cookies and Candy
Eye wash/Drops (For flushing sand out of their eyes.)
Foot Powder (I love to send Anti-Monkey Butt Powder because it's name is so funny.)
AT&T Phone cards & iTunes gift cards
My family has been sending letters and care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Qatar to a USO base for almost a year. As a result I have made several new friends. My boys have started a "Warrior Wall" which consists of two birthday banners (one for each boy) made with love by the troops at the USO in Qatar along with pictures of several soldiers we have supported. My boys, fascinated by all things military like, have grown leaps and bounds thinking of others instead of themselves. When we go shopping instead of hearing, "Mom, would you please buy me this?" I hear, "Mom, can we please buy this for the soldiers?"
The excitement of receiving an email or letter from a soldier can only be matched by the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning. A feeling I am told the troops share when they receive mail from us as well. Wanting to keep the Christmas spirt of giving going year round I decided to gather as many letters, poems, and artwork as possible to send to as many different soldiers as possible. Knowing my two sons and I could not possibly do it alone, I asked teachers for help.
The initial response has been more than I ever expected. It makes me proud that there are so many teachers, students, and community members that want to help make sure our troops know we care. The enormous amount of interest I have received has promoted me to start this blog. I plan on using this site to send many thanks to those who are helping me reach as many soldiers as we can. I hope to post notes from soldiers who have received mail from us, so they may share what it means to them. I would also love to hear from the students, parents, and teachers who would like to share any thoughts or comments.
A million thanks to everyone who participates in Words for Warriors.