Last year was a great year for supporting our troops as we continue sending monthly care packages and prepare for our Christmas in July Project, 2013. In May, 2013 we'll be mailing our 6,000th care package to our troops in Afghanistan. We hope this year to meet the needs and requests of even more soldiers as support for them and our mission grows.
The Brookings-Harbor Redshirts were able to host a community event on March 30th, welcoming home four of our local soldiers; two served in Afghanistan and two served in Iraq. Thanks to many local businesses and citizens for funding this welcome home celebration. It was wonderful seeing everyone shake hands and welcome home some of our local troops.
Thanks also to our many Global Giving supporters who are invaluable in helping us fulfill our promise of supporting our troops until they all come home. We are making preparations for our yearly "Christmas in July" shipment also, where we send not only good and hygiene items, but gifts, games and other items to make it "feel" like Christmas for our soldiers. This is the time of year it's the hottest in Afghanistan so we go all out to lift the morale and make it fun for our troops.
Recently we received a letter from MSG Tadd Jennings in Afghanistan who also sent us a picture from there. One of the items he was requesting was hand warmers, you'll see why. Here is his letter to us all:
Hello Redshirt supporters!
Thank you for the care packages and piece of driftwood! The gifts and supplies was much appreciated. Everyone liked the pictures of the group and how beautiful Oregon is! Most of the soldiers here are from Texas and other southern states and had never visited Oregon. Our base here is a small one and US Army soldiers are the minority. We have a lot of NATO Soldiers and they are amazed by the support of total strangers for Soldiers from the USA.
I have enclosed a pic of us here.
Have a great day.
MSG Jennings, Tadd
Camp Qargha, Afghanistan
Also I have included a couple of pictures of the community-wide welcome home celebration for four of our soldiers.
Thank you again for all your support,
This year the Brookings-Harbor Redshirts had a sucessful Christmas shipment of care packages to our troops serving in Afghanistan. We were able to mail 151 assorted care packages to ten different groups, and several located at Combat Support Hospitals. We were blessed to be given about 50 filled Christmas stockings by one of the local churches and also to have the help of the Red Hat Society, a local ladies group in packing a lot of our care packages.
Each large shipment like this one requires a lot of planning, organizing and timing to make it all happen on time. It also requires the resources necessary to purchase the items and to pay for the shipping. So to all our partners in GlobalGiving, a big thank you for helping make this all possible. Thos year, 2013, we are hoping to be able to mail our 6,000th care packages to a soldier serving in harm's way.
We've had lots of thank you letters and emails from the troops and I would like to share some of them with you today.
I wanted to personally thank you all for continued support for our the Troops here in Afghanistan. We received the care packages today and I passed them to the Chaplain to help pass them around to everyone. It is the support from folks like yourselves that keeps us going.
Thank you again and God Bless.
KENNETH E. KOEHLER
TF MED SW S4
And another card read:
Dear Brookings-Harbor Redshirts,
Thank you very much for your kind gifts and thoughtful letters. The Marines made quick work of everything you sent.
We hop you and your families will have a wonderful Christmas, we genuinely appreciate your support.
1 MEF FWD (G1)
And from a local soldier:
Thank you so much for your packages! My room mates and I love the DVDs! Going to try and watch them all before I come home.
My room mates and I decorated our room with the ornaments and Christmas lights you all sent to us. It looks beautiful and cheerful!
From all the soldiers here in Afghanistan, we thank the Redshirts for all of the support and packages sent to us during our tour over here. Thank you so much!!
SPC Sarah Braun
We want to again thank you for all of your support, but mostly, we want to express the goodwill from all of the troops serving in harm's way because of the difference you were able to make during their tour of duty. Thank you and a wonderful 2013 to all of our partners. May our troops be safe and come home soon.
The Brookings-Harbor Redshirts are keeping up the pace with requests from our troops and getting as many care packages sent to Afghanistan as we possibly can. Looking back over the past seven years of our Christmas In July project, I was reminded of the goodness and kindness in our soldiers hearts when I saw two of the first pictures sent back to us from Iraq. The troops had requested items for the children there; items they could play with and items they could learn with. I was touched by the humanity I saw in the middle of all that was going on and by the sight of our soldiers interacting with Iraqi children.
This coming month of November is the time when we send all of our Christmas care packages to the troops each year. Again we will be sending well over a hundred care packages, that changes on a weekly basis as new contacts become available. We are blessed to have so much support from our GlobalGiving partners, and also locally we have several groups that get together with the Redshirts during the holidays and help pack and make Christmas stockings that will also go to Camp Leatherneck, Combat Support Hospitals and many other places throughout Afghanistan.
Here are some responses we have received lately from some of our soldiers:
Good morning ladies and gentleman, My name is Lcpl Donovan Hanson and recently I have received some care packages from your group and would like to thank all of you for the support. Everyone I have shared the goodies with have enjoyed them. I read the letters some of you have written and enjoyed each and everyone of them. I have passed through Brookings a few times when I was on a trip to the coast and enjoyed the beauty out there. I am from Springfield myself and enjoy and miss the state of Oregon. I enjoyed reading about your group called the Red Shirts and I'm delighted to hear there are still people back home who support the military. I'm not the best writer but I would just like to say, thank you, thank you for the gifts and thank you for the support. -Lcpl Hanson
Here is another letter from Afghanistan:
Dear Red Shirts,
I am writing this email to you in pure joy for the care packages that your organization sent to me and the members of my unit. What each and every care package we as Soldiers receive, brings such joy to us that is so difficult to explain. As Soldiers, we understand that life back home must go on. Your children still have birthdays, holidays come and go, different family functions happen that you cannot be a part of. None of this can be put on hold while we are deployed. We understand this, but that doesn't make the pain of missing these functions any less real.
This makes it very easy for a Soldier to feel that they are forgotten.
Every letter, package, post card we receive reminds each and every one of us that we are not forgotten during this time.
I am so thankful for programs around the country such as yours that makes it possible to remind Soldiers just how much we do mean. This is especially evident when things come from people that you don't know.
There truly are no words that can express the feeling it gives us.
By the way, the squirt guns and the water balloons are great! We will definitely be plotting against each other for a very long time to find new and different ways to get somebody wet! We don't just have an all out squirt gun war, we do covert operations so that one person gets soaked while the rest run away laughing like little school children! It is a great time.
The Soldiers of the 484th Military Police Company are extremely thankful for all that you have done for us and do for all the Soldiers in Afghanistan. Keep up the awesome work!
SGT, US Army
S1, 484th MP CS CO
Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan
So thank you again to our GlobalGiving partners and all of those who support our troops, we pray they can all come home soon and re-start their lives with their families and neighbors. Your have done an amazing job letting them know that we still care, and our Christmas care packages will convey that message to each and every soldier.
Frank Muller, Project Leader
Christmas in July project report, Aug 2012.
Again, thank you for all your support for our troops. As we go forward with our mission of supporting our troops in harm's way, on the home front, we continue to engage the community and also local students from our schools. I have posted a couple of pictures and letters that we received from these young students that are being sent to the soldiers in Afghanistan.
Our Christmas in July shipment was a big success. We were able to ship another 52 care packages to our soldiers in Camp Dwyer and also the Nato Multi-National hospital, both in Afghanistan. In addition we sent care packages to several other smaller groups of soldiers. As of today we have shipped a total of 5733 care packages.
We had many wrapped gifts and games in our Christmas in July care packages this year, including portable DVD players and movies for our wounded warriors at both the Combat Support Hospital at Camp Dwyer and the Nato Multinational hospital. We tried to think out of the box and besides the healthy snacks, treats, body wipes and hygiene items, we included some water pistols and water balloons too so the soldiers could have a little fun.
In an email from SGT Christopher Enget, he writes:
"I am writing this email to you in pure joy for the care packages that your organization sent to me and the members of my unit." " By the way, the squirt guns and the water balloons are great! We will definitely be plotting against each other for a very long time to find new and different ways to get somebody wet!" "The Soldiers of the 484th Military Police company are extremely thankful for all that you have done for us and do for all the Soldiers in Afghanistan. Keep up the awesome work!"
Sgt, US Army
Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan.
Another Soldier writes:
Thank you so much for your packages! It means a lot to my co-workers and I that you thought of us, we're all very grateful. (Sarah Braun)
And from Task Force 10th Medical Support Team at Camp Dwyer:
"Since Task Force Medical Southwest soldiers have arrived into theater-Afghanistan you have showered us with your love and friendship through your gifts, prayers, support and thoughtfulness. Oh behalf of every Soldier and Family member from this unit, "THANK YOU!"
Anthony D. Allen
This is where all your support goes, so thank you from The Brookings-Harbor Redshirts.
The Brookings-Harbor Redshirts continue to support our troops through the "Christmas in July" project. To date we have sent 5,664 care packages to our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and also those who served their country in Iraq. We are approaching our seventh year of supporting our troops and are again planning another special shipment for July.
We have found that during these especially hot and difficult summer months our care packages can make it feel like Christmas. So during the month of July we send special care packages that games, toys, socks, under ware, gloves (because things are so hot to handle), phone cards and requested hygiene and food items such as baby wipes, toothpaste, soap, razors, beef jerky, can fruit, granola bars etc. Chocolate cannot be shipped during the summer months, so we send hard candy that won't melt.
We have recently received a couple of letters from soldiers and also welcomed home a local soldier returning for a short leave from Afghanistan. Here are the letters:
I can't thank you all enough for all your care packages, letters and little things that you guys send from home. A little bit of everything helps when you're away from home and away from your family. Being over here is definitely a life changing experience. It's not a simple task to complete without a little heartache and missing your family constantly. On behalf of myself and the 1st Platoon Outlaws, I greatly appreciate everything you all have done for us; it's a good feeling knowing some people out there still care about the people who defend everyone's freedom on a day to day basis.
SPC Michael Ruegsegger
Also this letter from the Nato Multi-National Hospital:
Kind folks of the Redshirts,
Let me say how much we all appreciate you taking the time to send these wonderful tastes of heaven and home to us. We had just come off an operation that had us in the middle of nowhere for about 30 days. Coming back to these wonderful boxes was awesome.
I wanted to make sure you knew how much we appreciate all your support and recognize that it’s because of people like you and your group we can keep on with the mission knowing we have wonderful people like you backing us up.
Take care, pleasure talking with you.
LT MSC USN
1st Battalion 8th Marines
So thank you all our partners in Global Giving, you are making a big difference in the lives and morale of many of our soldiers serving in harm's way.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.