Recently I received an onslaught of emails, primarily from a friend of mine that, until she gives me permission to use her full name online, I will refer to as C. The content of the emails involved some highly intensive requests. I've reviewed them and framed my answers in my mind; let's see how well put them into type. This is a list of the requests and proposals sent to me....
1. Would I be willing to take a more active leadership role in my local Democratic party
2. Would I also be willing to format my thoughts on education into a proposal for a bill to provide a civilian job corp educational program
3. As a veteran myself, would I be willing to help in the community, especially with a program to gather donated commodities for shipment to soldiers in Iraq, as well as other programs to come
I would be willing to do all these things; however I do have some reservations that I should like to state upfront before continuing in any direction with them, and I also would like to present my answers here, so that the community can have the opportunity to review my ideas and responses and voice their opinions and input on them.
I will not appear before the media, should I accept these offers. I do not like media exposure. I had enough of that at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. You have to understand not only my viewpoint but the Army's viewpoint on this issue as well, in order to understand why I will NEVER appear on camera, in an interview, or on a radio program, or any other form of media EVER again. The Army needs positive media exposure, unfortunately they do this by any means at their disposal. A wounded soldier is still a soldier and still subject to the orders of his superiors. I happen to be well spoken, and, to be frank, I am a pretty boy on camera. This is a bad combination in a military hospital. I often found myself "asked" to "participate" in media events. I performed numerous television specials, interviews, radio talk show appearances, and attended so many political functions throughout Washington, that I believe I now can recite the shoe size of every politician in that town. Washington was the circus, I was the two headed goat in the side show. If you want to get elected, getting your picture taken with a pretty cripple is a great way to start.
There was a good side to this. It opened my eyes and enlightened me as to what the republican party, in charge at the time, was realy about. Needless to say, after that carnival ride, I am firmly entrenched in the democratic camp now. It is amazing how much people will say around a cripple. They are so used to ignoring us, that after a time, they actualy forget we are in the room. I heard things in Washington that turned my pubic hair straight!
That having been said, as long as I am not expected to participate with or appear before any media exposure, I would be overjoyed to take on a leadership capacity with the local party. I will also attempt to frame a proposal on education; however, I am a passionate speaker, not a lawyer, I am fairly certain that whatever I put into type, should be reviewed by legal parties prior to presentation beyond the local arena.
As to the third point, gathering comodities for donation to soldiers in Iraq. THERE I CAN REALY HELP! I have a LIST of organizations that do precisely that. We should contact them for input on adopting a unit overseas, and getting mailing addresses for shipment. Next we need to make a list of needed items, I already have that. And finaly, we need to contact the local elementary, middle and high schools, preferably the art and english departments, so that the children of the community can include hand written letters, pictures and other art works to include in the care packages ( The key word in care package is "Care"). Soldiers aren't as concerned with what they get as who sent it and why. I remember a few of the toughest men I know, breaking down into tears over a kindergartner's fingerprint card. Below are two lists; organizations and commodity donation guide lines.
The National Military Spouses' Support Group
Peace Corp (I'm not kidding they realy sent us stuff)
The Wesleyan Foundation
I'm sure there are many more, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.
*canned food, with very long shelf lives, and tasty...eg ravioli, tuna, spaghetti o's, viena sausages
*dry goods that only require water to cook...eg ramen noodles, kraft macaroni dinners
*candy that WILL NOT MELT....dont send chocolate...eg gum, twizlers, candied nuts, dry fruit
*dried foods....eq peanuts, dry fruit, raisens, trail mix
*powdered drink mixes
*instant coffee and tea
*DO NOT send sugar or creamer......thet tend to absorb moisture and attract insects during shipping
*AVOID SENDING personal hygiene items.....there is an abundance of both in combat theaters and a
soldier can only use so many bars of soap
*Things that provide entertainment.....pocket games, decks of cards, puzzle books, small board games
*DO NOT send home baked goods....I remember an old story, true or not I can not say, that tells of a
vietnam veteran who recieved a pack of bad brownies, luckily he was captured and the captors
stole and ate them, he was saved by a good dose of food poisoning
*Personal messages of encouragement and love....soldiers will openly make fun of each other for them..but later when they are alone they will read them until they are nothing but taters of paper
The key to a good care package is to send what the soldiers will most enjoy, will survive shipping, and
will have the most possitive impact on their morale.
I hope this response covers most of the emails I have recieved to date. Please, feel free to comment on the post. I never turn down input, whether it be complimentary or critique. All input is good input, you just need to learn how to take critisism as well as pats on the back. Tomorrow or later tonight, after I have had time to digest the idea, I will post a preliminary proposal on education. Until then, I just want to end this blog with a large thank you to all of you for your support, encouragement, and love. Thank you, Sgt Ron.
I, for a change, have a job for all of YOU. I would like each of you to forward this blog site's address to five of you friends. The more people I get to come to this site, the more communication we can develop. Blogging is great, but it realy doesnt accomplish anything without participation.