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Monday, August 31, 2009

Writer Adopts a Soldier at

Last week I recieved a note in my e-mail box from Joyce, a subscriber to my Sharing with Writers newsletter. I had mentioned this blog and she said, "Great newsletter, Carolyn--of course, that is "normal" for you :-) Your
WarPeaceTolerance blog mention reminded me about a link I'd been meaning to
send you. Are you familiar with Aaron, Shane and I just
"adopted" a small troop of medics there. It looks like a great
organization." So, naturally, I asked her to tell us all about it, as a guest blogger. Here's what she said.

I'm not sure what you want for your blog exactly, but let's see what I can do. Being at the beginning of this , I don't have a lot of personal experience to share--yet. As for writing info, you can mention my name if you want, but my writing, while full of the tolerance message, really doesn't "fit". That's okay--this is about the soldiers, not me.

How does the following sound? Pick and choose what you think your readers may respond to best.

A senior officer speaks for his troops. At the ripe old age of 21 years, he feels responsible for for those under his command.

"The everyday items we often take for granted--soap, toothpaste, female products--are few and far between here. On the rare occasions we have these, books, videos and games to help us forget what is going on around us are welcome gifts. I try to make this as much of a family as possible as right now this is our family. Word from home is so infrequent, yet the smallest thing can keep us going for days. Something as simple as snacks or lemonade mix can bring a taste of home."

As the war in Iraq drags on, many of our men and women find themselves exactly where this man is--far from home and longing for a kind word, a small item that we often take for granted and most of all the knowledge that someone still cares. This is where comes in.

First, I must state that the Army is not the only military branch represented here. All branches are represented.

The idea of this site is for individuals, families, even organizations to "adopt" a unit. The contact person for each unit will see that anything sent is given where it is most needed--a card or letter to someone who may never receive mail, hygiene items to those who have none, etc... The contact person is not some fashionably-dressed person sitting in an office somewhere, but an actual soldier right in the middle of the war.

The main site allows a person to search for a unit that feels "right". You can choose by branch, state, length of time the unit still has before coming home. Maybe a certain type of unit--such as medics--grabs your heart. With the literally thousands of our sons and daughters represented, there is sure to be at least one group that is a fit for you.

Cost is a factor many feel is a deterrent. This need not be a factor either. Some of these units want nothing more than regular cards and letters. A small packet of paper and pens--or a book or two to read. There is no required limit to how much or little you can send--it is your choice, depending on what you are comfortable with.

The US post office helps also. Postage is only required to either NY or CA, whichever is closest to your location. There are flat rate boxes and envelopes that can be mailed--if it fits, it is shipped--weight isn't factored in unless it is over 70 pounds.

There is now even special flat rate boxes specifically for military use. These cost less than the regular ones (approximately $11.50 for the largest one). That's less than forty cents a day if you send a package each month--even less if you send an actual package every other month and a letter here and there in between. The rewards, however, are beyond measure.

So, thank you, Joyce. Won't you sally on over to and help. When help feels personal, it is lots more fun.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson wrote the foreword for Eric Dinyer's book of patriotic quotations, Support Our Troops, published by Andrews McMeel. Part of the proceeds for the book benefit Fisher House. Her chapbook of poetry won the Military Writers Society of America's award of excellence. Find it at

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