Welcome to our Blog &
thanks for supporting our troops!
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I am embarrassed that I didn't have time to post a blog last month, but G2TT is involved with a flurry of activities and is bursting at the seams!
Many of you know that my husband is deployed again and is stationed in Iraq. He and his fellow Marines are not living in the greatest conditions. They have no showers or toilets and their old building is small and pretty filthy.
They have no PX and few amenities, yet they do not complain ... they are Marines.
Their unit deals directly with the Iraqi people every day, who are living in the same conditions. Their unit has made great progress in their Mission and the Iraqis seem to appreciate their presence and like our Marines. The media doesn’t show these accomplishments, but I see them through the eyes of our troops and I am so proud of them.
Typical of a U.S. Marine, my husband asks not for items for himself and his Marines, but rather, items they can give to the Iraqi children they see each day. Many other Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan also request items for the local children.
If you’re interested in helping, I have a new mission for you.
Are you Ready?
Our Marines and Soldiers are asking for many donated items listed below. These items need to be sent to our CONNECTICUT Branch, so we may quickly forward them overseas to the appropriate unit in Iraq or Afghanistan.
1. CHILDREN’S CLOTHING and SHOES (All sizes. NEW is preferred. They may be gently worn, but must be clean and have absolutely no tears, holes, rips or stains.)
2. SCHOOL SUPPLIES for Elementary School Age Children such as:
Colored Construction paper
Wide-lined notebook paper
3. SMALL TOYS they can stuff in their pockets to hand to the children they see. Examples: small Matchbox cars, tiny dolls, Legos, Beanie Babies, colored balloons, etc. (THINK SMALL!)
4. HARD CANDY in factory-sealed bags with individually wrapped pieces. (No individual pieces accepted and no chocolate as it will melt.) Examples: Bulk bags of: SweetTarts, Skittles, Starburts, Smarties, Life Savers, chewing gum, Pez Dispensers and Pez candy, etc.
5. SOCCER GEAR: Balls, nets, goals, and t-shirts for the children’s teams. (Each team should have its own color). The Marines want to set up some soccer teams with the Iraqi children in the upcoming months.
Let’s see what you all can do!
Thank you for supporting our troops and our organization’s mission.
G2TT President and Founder
At every packing party at our Connecticut Branch, we go around the room and introduce ourselves. One of the things we mention is how we first became involved.
How did we hear about G2TT?
Why did we get involved?
What motivated us to help and continue to help?
Why have many of us stayed on - some of us working up to 50 hours/week as UNPAID volunteers since 2002!
I'm posting this blog, asking each of you to write back and let everyone now how you became involved and what the experience means to YOU as a volunteer or donor.
I WILL GO FIRST ...
Back in 2002, my husband (a Sergeant in the Marine Corps) received his deployment orders for OIF. I was a nervous wreck. Our son was only 10 years old. My husband is a U.S. Marine Reservist, so we didn't live on a base or even close to where he drills. We didn't know ANYONE who was going through what we were and it was frightening.
I wanted to send care packages to my husband and his unit, but he wanted me to find the guys on the front lines who needed the packages more than he did.
Our family had some friends who were already deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. One girlfriend of mine was on a NAVY SHIP that was transporting thousands of Marines and Soldiers to Iraq. She became my first Point of Contact and put me in touch with Navy Chaplains on other ships and pretty soon, I had more than 15,000 troops to send packages to!
(above, my dear friend Sandy Edgley and many shipmates: Sailors and Marines who lined up to get items from our care package.)
I decided to get our community involved - my son's elementary school, community choir, neighbors, sports team, church friends, relatives - anyone who would listen to this "crazy, frantic wife who missed her husband" who had a vision to let every deployed troop in harm's way know America truly loves him or her.
People used to pack boxes with my son and me several times a week after work in my tiny 800 SQF home's basement.
(Volunteers in my tiny basement.)
Word spread quickly about what we were doing and pretty soon people from around the nation were calling me to find out how they could help my efforts ...
(Volunteers at the post office.)
We packed boxes and spent hours at our local post office mailing hundreds of boxes. People on line behind us were NOT happy!
But we grew ....
and grew ....
and grew ...
and grew ...
I gave weekly speeches and presentations to promote my "program". And after a few months, I saw I had a great support network comprised of loving, dedicated, patriotic citizens from around the globe.
We sent THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of boxes from my little home to our deployed troops in combat. Thank you letters from those troops poured in! And I received other letters from new troops requesting assistance. So we kept sending boxes.
WHY do I stay on?
For starters, our troops deserve our utmost support for the selfless sacrifices they make for us. But it's more than that for me ...
Perhaps it's the letters - the troops very own words of gratitude ...
or maybe it's the support of our generous donors and volunteers ...
or the fact that my family and I received so much support and my husband came back okay, so we need to "pay it forward" ...
(with US Congressman, Chris Shays)
But I think it's a combination of all of the above and I will continue my efforts to support our deployed and wounded troops until there is no longer a need.
SO ... how and why did you get involved?
I want to tell you about some very special people who have been doing some very special things for our organization. They spend countless hours each week (sometimes up to the wee hours of the morning) volunteering to make sure we accomplish our mission. Most of them help out "behind the scenes" when the rest of the world is busy doing their daily activities.
In Connecticut and Massachusetts, some of these elves go by the names of "Lydia", "Donna" ,"Susan", "John", "Elinor", "Jim", "Beth", "Carol", "Phyllis", "Lara", "Jeannette", "Dana", "Kristy", "Shelley", "Christine", "Rose Marie", "Joe" , "Linda", "Carrie", "James" and others ... like "Bob S. and Pat S." and "Angie"!
In North Carolina, the elves are led by "Barb" "Catherine", "Diane", "Brenda Sue", "Brenda", "Maureen", and many others ...
In Texas, Elf "Rick" and Elf "Dawn" are packing away boxes for the troops with their fellow elves.
In Colorado, Elf "Christine" is busier than ever getting boxes out with her helpers.
And in Washington, Elves "Pete", "Carol", "Judy", "Deane", "Carleen" and "Bob" are working away in their workshop - all for our troops.
These elves are so precious to G2TT for all they do to help us give back to the troops. And the troops along with me, so greatly appreciate all they do!
THANK YOU ELVES!!! - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!
Last year in November, life wasn't throwing me too many curve balls and things seemed to be looking good. I started a new job and our organization sent many more troops care packages than the year before (thanks to a dramatic increase in donations from the previous year).
Most of us had a lot to be thankful for.
As we entered the year 2007, I lost my father in January and in March, I also lost my dog, "Beastie" of 17 years. A few months after that, we received word that my husband, a Marine Sergeant, was going to deploy again. And in September, he headed for his 2nd deployment. Suddenly, things didn't look so good.
I haven't been thrilled about the way 2007 unfolded for me (or for some of my friends who lost a spouse or child). I am sure there are others who also suffered a loss, a heartbreak, a health issue or a deployment this year. My heart goes out to all of them because it is never easy.
So, here we are again, at the cusp of a new year approaching - about to celebrate another Thanksgiving Holiday. Many of us will gather with our family and friends, eating traditional holiday meals and perhaps watching a parade or football game on television. Isn't that what we do each year?
There are many deployed troops who cannot be with their families right now. They can't smell the pumpkin pie, taste the turkey or sweet potatoes or hang out and watch tv with their loved ones. They are lucky if they can even get to a phone to call home.
Instead, they are in a far away land where it is cold outside. Many are simply requesting blankets and cards of support because they miss home.
It doesn't matter if I had a "bad year" because so did they. Life marches on, and when we feel like we are having a bad "day", "week," "month" or "year" - let's think about the types of days our troops are having ... without complaining.
I know what I am thankful for this year. In addition to having decent health; a roof over my head; a job; food on the table; a loving family; and good friends, I am thankful for our ALL-VOLUNTEER military we have.
Let's say thanks at our dinner tables to all the veterans who honorably and selflessly served our country so that we may continue to celebrate Thanksgiving each year. They deserve that at the very least.
THANK YOU, TROOPS!