Monday, October 29, 2007

Adopting--A--Soldier

My first goal for this project is to match up civilians with troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mostly we try to get support and cheer to those soldiers, sailors, and Marines, who get little mail, but ALL the troops enjoy knowing we are thinking about them back here. So many troops are feeling forgotten. They are especially amazed when someone they don't even know cares enough to write.

Most people support a soldier for the full length of his or her deployment: 12 to 15 months. Often there is only 4 to 6 months left of their tour when we get the names.

You can request male vs female and a home State. Most of the time I do not have hometowns, but I'll gladly match you when I do.

WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH "ADOPTING": When you agree to "adopt" a soldier for his or her full deployment, it is nice if you can send at least a card every 3 weeks or so. Every-other week would be awesome! You don't have to write a lot, you can use commercial greeting cards. It is nice if in your first letter you tell them a little something about yourself, and even include a photo (just like we would like them to do.) Getting mail frequently is the best thing we can do, besides sending prayers. Receiving your card will often be the best part of their day.

LETTERS: We are not "adopting" to be pen-pals though. Some soldiers will write back (or email) frequently, especially if they have a desk job. Some will not respond for months. Many never do. They are often working in horrible conditions 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are just dog tired! They are fighting a war. Their first letters and correspondence will go to their families. We are doing this to send support and cheer, and to not let them feel forgotten as so many have. I find if we write NOT expecting a response, then it's just a PLUS if we do get one!

DON'T GIVE UP: after two letters/cards as so many people do. Several times I have received a response after multiple cards/packages and 3 or even 4 months. Just when I was about to give up I got the most heart-warming THANK YOU letters! Some have even said things like: "You saved my life. Just when I thought I couldn't take any more, your letters would show up and give me hope." Or, "You'll never ever know how much your support has helped me and the other troops here."

PACKAGES: If you want to send a goody box now and then, that is great. Even a manila envelope with a pack of gum or microwave popcorn is fun. You don't have to spend a big sum of money. Do as little or as much as you want. I would not continue to send a lot of packages if you have not heard back after a few months, just in case they have moved and you did not get notice. Remember to include a self-addressed envelope, and paper, to encourage a quick/easy reply.

If you find you are not getting around to supporting the troop you are responsible for, just let me know, it happens. I can assign another volunteer.

LOST INFO: If you lose your information, I can resend it. THAT happens a lot! :-)



WHO JOINS: We have individuals, families, and groups of school children, Scouts, church and work friends who adopt!

You can visit my website at www.auntnancyusa.com to SUBMIT your email address and get email updates on my projects and the troops.

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