A battalion’s benefactor gives anything but her name (free registration required)
A reader tips me off to this story:
Anonymous giving is the highest form of charity. That’s why she won’t reveal her name.
She won’t even tell anyone the code name by which she’s known to the dozens of troops in Iraq to whom she’s sent holiday packages. Dozens? Make that 129. She’s adopted an entire battalion of Marines. An entire battalion.
You should have seen her lugging that Christmas tree to the post office. Had it sent priority mail. Fifty-four pounds. To Fallujah, Iraq. She persuaded friends to send boxes of ornaments.
Persuaded? They wanted to.
She says: People want to help. They’re dying to help.
The fellow at the ham company. He donated four cases, enough to feed 200 Marines. Dying to help.
The folks who donated the mustard. To go with the ham. Dying to help.
The woman who sewed the Marines’ names on the blankets she got them, so they wouldn’t have to sleep in their poncho liners. Wouldn’t take a cent for her work. Dying to help.
Giving is contagious.
The story is not written in a normal journalistic style, as you can see. But its message is powerful.
I started with one. It was a piece of cake to send him a package. So I asked him for someone else’s name.
The Marine sent her a buddy’s address.
I asked for more.
The Marine sent four more addresses. Now she had six Marines. She got a couple of friends to help. She was stern about it. They had to send a package a week or she’d take the address back and find someone else.
Giving is contagious. Try it. It will transform how you think.
She wanted more.
I finally got 19 names. I started sending things to 19 soldiers. I said I can do more. Give me the names of the whole battalion. The Marine told me there were 130 names. But they couldn’t release all of them. It was a matter of security.
A couple of months ago, the Marine sent her the names of the entire battalion. She figures he went to everybody individually and got all their names one by one by one. Sent them all.
But there were 129 names. Not 130.
They lost one.
It doesn’t matter what your politics are.
She’ll tell you she voted for John Kerry. Thinks the war was a bad idea.
But they’re our kids.
Brave. Strong. And so young.
Would you go over there? I wouldn’t. I’m not brave enough. They are.
What do they like to receive? You might not believe it. The most popular item by far?
They write: “Anything you send is great, but if you get a chance …. ”
They ask for their favorite brand of jerky: Oberto; Pacific Gold; Jack Links. She goes from store to store to store, trying to find their favorite brands.
That’s how I know them – by the brand of beef jerky they like.
She has a personal stake now.
They believe in what they’re doing. We should all believe in what we’re doing with the same passion and intensity they do.
She got the word a few days ago. Some of their tours will be extended six more months.
What was her reaction?
Got to get more boxes. Just got to get more boxes.
You hear a lot of “I don’t support the war but I support the troops” talk. Most of them mean well. Some of them don’t.
This woman does. And she’s doing good.
There are a lot of stories like this surfacing around the holidays. And there’s nothing wrong with that.