When I’ve shared my experience with Soldiers’ Angels with people I’ve met and explained how much our efforts make a real difference with the troops, several times I’ve been asked, “But what has Soldiers’ Angels done for you?” I answer simply, “Everything and more.”
Looking back, I don’t even remember HOW I initially found Soldiers’ Angels. This would have been 2, maybe 3, years ago. Things were hectic in my life — but then again, things are always busy. After the wedding, I had some time off from everything to think about what I was doing with my life. I thought to myself, “I have a great family. I have a great job. We lead a pretty simple life, but … ”
Part of me felt as if I wasn’t doing enough — I was missing something. Sure, I did a little charity work here and there, but nothing that felt really meaningful to me. I never felt needed, or as if I truly belonged to a particular cause.
You know, you hear it all the time from various inspirational stories printed online or emailed around via chain letters and such — “one person can make a difference.” I can honestly say that I never FULLY believed that until I joined Soldiers’ Angels. I can honestly say that this is the most rewarding and humbling experience. I’m constantly wow’ed by the awesome men and women in our military that I’ve spoken to and corresponded with over the past year.
I’d like to share a few examples that I have run across only recently:
A thank you from my first adopted soldier:
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for mailing me the letters they mean a lot to us over here. We all look forward to the mail that any Soldiers Angel send us. It is always nice to receive a caring work from home.”
“Mail, believe it or not, is the biggest part of our day; at home we make no time to go look at the mail box, but here we make nothing but time to go and see what we got.”
Comments from another grateful soldier:
“I just want to thank you in your support. It means a lot to the Army and a lot to me as well to know that there are people who support what we do. I think the biggest request would have to be phone cards. Other than that, the simple things are the greatest things such as Hygiene products, snacks, and moral support. Again, I thank you.”
An email from Anthony:
“Hey this is Anthony, the soldier you once wrote. I just wanted to let you know I stumbled upon the letter you sent me and reading it over made me rethink why I enlisted. Again I just wanted to say thank you for taking your time to write.”
A quote from a soldier who received some TLC:
“This Soldiers’ Angel thing is crazy and cool at the same time. We just got mail today again and I got 26 Angels that sent me cards and packages. It was almost overwhelming, but it kept me busy most of the morning. One of my sergeants was trying to screen my letters for inappropriate stuff but I know he was just looking for the single females that live near his home town. He was cracking me up this morning … everyone wants to be my friend now because I have enough candy and hygiene products to make a small army really clean and have no teeth! LOL But it’s nice, I think my mouth was like four different colors yesterday from all the candy I was eating.”
Another hero tells us:
“Thank you for everything you do for us. It is so great to get something from the US, no matter what it is.”
Our heroes aren’t the only ones affected. When I received my first “thank you” from one of my adoptees, I cried. Nothing hits closer to home than true, honest appreciation. I have always admired the brave men and women in our military and wholly appreciate their efforts with all of my heart. It never once dawned on me that someone may appreciate my efforts (however small I thought they were!).
I know I am not the only one. Take this post from PeggyV just before Mother’s Day:
“One of my adoptees is a hero who has been silent since I adopted him in September 2007. Each letter is a struggle since I know nothing about him. Imagine my surprise this week when I received free mail from Iraq and it was Zach! The letter only contained the following, “Happy Mother’s Day. I know you don’t have kids, but you have been like a Mom to me this past year.”
“Wow, let’s all remember that the silence may be hard sometimes, but they really do need us. His few words are priceless to me.”
There are so many more stories like the ones I just posted. Perhaps you have one you’d like to share? Feel free to post to the Soldiers’ Angels forums, or if you’d prefer, the comments form below. I’d love to hear them.
(cross-posted to Bama Angels)