Monday, May 4, 2009

What Do You Need? What Can I Send You?

I've been deployed a couple of times and I am always amazed at how this question is asked by so many people who know you are down range or going down range. They ask because they want to help. They want to support you on your mission; serving the country, defending freedom, living in semi-primitive conditions, being away from home, etc.

For many people, sending a care box filled with a few American goodies, American magazines, and anything American, is a simple way to show their support and concern - and you know what? We all appreciate it and look forward to those packages.

But, there are other care packages you can send, just in case you are wondering how you can show your support, that are just as effective and needed.

Today, I got an email from a former Sergeant Major of mine. It surprised me to find myself smiling, almost beaming as I read her message. It wasn't that the message was the most incredible and enlightening message I had ever received, that made me feel so good. It was that someone took the time to say hello, to offer words of encouragement and let me know that somewhere, someone was thinking of me.

This is the kind of care package I'm talking about - emails, letters, comments on a blog, writing on someone's facebook wall. Don't get me wrong, goodies are great, snail mail care packages are awesome, nobody will deny a delivery of that caliber but, sending a few heartfelt words in a letter or electronic message can really make a dull day brighter. 

Each time I put an entry in this blog, the text is automatically emailed to a select group of friends who I think will be interested to know what my unit is doing out here. Inevitably, a couple days after I publish a post I get an email or two from someone in that group who comments about the entry.

One of these folks usually pokes fun at my entries, sarcastically telling me how "touched he is" by my somewhat softy style of writing but, at the same time he offers a few words of encouragement to keep up the good work too. Another one often says how much he appreciates the work we are doing here and to tell my soldiers to hang in there. My wife makes comments too, telling me to stay tough and not to worry about things at home, that my Soldiers are doing a great job.

Each blog comment, email or letter from these folks, and others who have taken an interest in our lives out here, is just as good as opening a boxed care package from home. They are unexpected, personal and quite honestly they don't add to our calorie intake like all those goodies we get (not that they aren't wanted, you can always send those too).

So, if you're one of those people wondering what you can send and trying to figure out just what we need out here, I tell you this. A boxed care package will work just fine, but a quick note in the mail, a comment on one of our blogs or an unexpected email just might be what we need the most and it doesn't cost anything but a few minutes of your time.

Thanks to all our friends and family for your support, keep it coming. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Anonymous said...

This is good to hear. For years we have been encouraging people to send Care Packages - always knowing that some people simply didn't have the resources to make-up even one such package. I'm thinking mainly of older folks and those who don't have a lot of income. Writing a letter or an email is a great alternative for anybody. I will help spread that message to my friends and associates. In 2005 we adopted a platoon in Afaghanistan and sent several care packages, and a bunch emails and pictures were exchanged. In 2006 we sent 27 care packages - often with MP3 players loaded with lots of music. We told the RIAA to go to hell - this music was for our soldiers and the copyrights are far less important than our troops. In 2007 we were given thousands of Skype Internet phones to ship to our contacts in Irag and Afaghanistan. In late 2007 I retired from the company but still I have sent three care packages to our troops.

Who are we? We are the staff and management of "Into Tomorrow", hosted by Dave Graveline. We produce a weekly, 3-hour radio show about consumer electronics. Broadcast over Sirius and XM satellite radio, as well as AFRTS.

I will pass the word for folks to start writing - finding email and snail mail addresses will be the hard part.

Thank you 1SG Martinez for answering that question.

Highest regards,
Steve Zeigler
former US Army MP
1965 - 1967

1sg Keith said...

I know what you mean. When I was in Afghanistan in 2004/2005, care packages were always appreciated, but I'd find myself looking forward to signing onto the computer each morning to see if anyone and who sent me email. Kepp up the good work. I try to check on your website once a week or so to see what you guys are up to.

Msg D. keith Johnson

Anonymous said...

Hey 211th whats going on thought i would stop by and say hi and that i was thinking about you guys. I was kinda wondering why you took me off the site it hurt my feelers a little bit. I thought you loved me. lol Its good to know that you guys are doing good, and I can't wait to see you guys when you come home. Lots of love on this end and stay safe.