March 12, 2013

Because We All Need Happy Stories

This article over at Huffington Post pissed a lot of people off last night. I’ll refrain from commenting about expecting reasonable discourse or accurate information from HuffPo. But you’ll notice they changed the original headline, “After Decade of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts” to “Defense Budgets Faces Cuts to Personnel After Decade of War,” after having their comments section flooded with corrections.

I’m not going to add to the chorus. Instead I want to tell you a true story.

A while back, a Twitter friend of mine contacted me and asked if she could send SoldierMan a care package. She said she wanted to do something physical to support the troops, and she thought of sending a care package, and I was the first person she could think of with a deployed soldier. I told her that I had him pretty well covered, but if she was interested I could get the names of some soldiers in his unit who are hurting for mail from home. She agreed to wait.

I had SoldierMan send me a few names of soldiers who hadn’t gotten much mail since they deployed and sent her one. (And before anyone jumps on me about OPSEC, let me say I would absolutely not have done this for someone I didn’t feel was trustworthy.) Last night, during the HuffPo hullaballoo, she messaged me and said the soldier she sent the package to emailed her and said thanks, and said, “It’s nice to know we haven’t been forgotten.”

She was so excited she got her entire office to go in on the next care package.

I’m telling you this story because it confirms what I’ve felt for a long time – lots of people support the military in their hearts and minds, lots more than we realize, I think. The problem is that, when less than 1% of the country actively serves in the military, that means a whole lot of people have zero personal connections to servicemembers. So while many people would like to help, they honestly don’t know how to go about doing it.

I wasn’t on twitter asking people to send care packages. This person contacted me out of the blue. I mean, I knew her, but her request came out of the blue. She was unusually proactive.

A few weeks ago, an army wife in my Sunday School class asked the class to “sponsor” her husband’s unit and donate for care packages. It’s not a “military”-aimed class, most of the people in the class are just locals with no relations in the military. But the whole class jumped at the chance and bring stuff every week to send downrange.

My point is, these people are out there. There are the ignorant loudmouths, but there are kind, concerned people, too. Try not to get fixated on the jerks.

10 comments:

  1. There are definitely good people out there and I love hearing these stories. :)

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  2. Love it! Joe got a package from some people at my FIL's church while he was deployed. I love that there ARE actually people who will do things like that.

    When we flew Sunday night, Joe was in uniform. A lady at the Honolulu airport bought our dinner. Turned out she is a Soldier's Angel. SEVERAL people stopped him in the airport to say "thank you." You're right - those people are out there. They're just few and far between, seems like.

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  3. Beautiful JG. I read the article simply because you posted it and I just rolled my eyes. I rarely chose to get mad over things like that because I understand that these people just don't have a clue. Screaming emotions isn't going to help. Instead, I try to constructively educate them on the matter without getting emotional. Most of the time this leads to a light bulb going off in their heads and a warm, kind-hearted gesture to show their support of the military.

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  4. So so true. There is good in the world.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this. Smile.

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  6. What a great reminder! Thank you :)

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  7. I saw the article this morning, I'd like someone to come live in my house & tell me it's too lavish....

    Anyway, good on your friend! I always love when strangers support the troops. :)

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  8. Great story and very well said. Thanks for this :)

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  9. Thanks for finding the good in the world! And for being the good, at that. :)

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  10. Good people are definitely out there.

    Living the life, and in a military community, many of the members at our church are military related (or retired military). We are very blessed in that way. Our church actually has a program called CODA (Christians On Deployment or Assignment). Once a month they watch the children of military members for 3 hours so we can have some alone time together (or if the spouse is gone, some much needed sanity time). We have sponsors in case we need anything, even if it's just a coffee or a "pick me up" email from someone who cares. They also send care packages every once in awhile to those who are deployed. It's so nice and until this group formed, I felt so alone when my husband was gone (except, my church is wonderful anyway and was always there for me, all I had to do was ask). This group is my saving grace while hubby is gone...they've done so much more for me in just the year or two they've been around than the commands FRG the whole 7 years hubby's been in. Had they been formed when my son was born, I wouldn't have worried one bit about my daughter and who was going to take care of her while I was in the hospital...instead (even though I love the woman who took my daughter in for a few days) I was sick to my stomach with worry the whole time.

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