Friday, November 11, 2011

Salute and Support

Every time there is a military-inspired holiday...Memorial Day, Veterans' Day...well, OK that's about it (I feel like there's I missing one?)...there is a blogosphere outcry over the mattress sales and car sales that eclipse the meaning behind the holiday. We encourage everyone to remember our veterans and to say thank you. And that is all well and good...except when you are paralyzed by the fear of strolling up to a stranger. Even if it is to say something nice.

Today, I'm pimping Military Missions like it's my full-time job because donating is still saying thanks without the anxiety.

I stumbled upon Beth and her foundation towards the end of Neal's last deployment. I don't exactly remember how it all started, but I think I attended a care package assembly. That's how most people find Beth. They see an ad in the newspaper or online that calls for all hands on deck to help get care packages to our military stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. Although Military Missions focuses mainly on Kentucky troops, Beth never turns down a care package request.

Over the years, Beth has added features and people to her ever-growing mission of supporting our military. Even her slogan, Reaching Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, indicates that she may begin with a box of hot chocolate and hand sanitizer, but she is also ready to assist troops and their families with any aspect of military life. Her resources for dealing with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury are vast and varied, as she has come face-to-face with it in her own life. Dealing with post-combat stress and injuries is a marathon, not a sprint, and she believes in having a running partner when you're on that long, lonely stretch of dark road.

Beth's most extensive annual project has just kicked off. OpSend Christmas begins in October and continues through Thanksgiving, until 30 November. Her objective is to make sure that every servicemember deployed at Christmas receives a gift from all of us back home. Each flat-rate box includes personal care items, such as chapstick, baby wipes, and foot powder; snack items like trail mix, coffee, and cookies; and gift items such as travel games and music CD's. For the holiday assembly, the gift items are increased and Christmas cards are added. Military Missions tries to include at least 10 hand-written cards in each box. The goal is at least 5,000 boxes. Last month, Beth wrote an article that described the best part of a care package: the cards and letters. Our troops may occasionally fist-pump over some beef jerky and a good book, but what they anticipate most is the correspondence from us.

Today, Veterans' Day, 11-11-2011, you can make it your mission to help Beth accomplish hers. If you are currently living in the Lexington, KY vicinity, the Military Missions office is located in the Millpond Shopping Center. They have extended their hours for Operation S.E.N.D. and are available to receive donations or answer any questions about how you may best donate your time, energy, finances, or all 3. She has also included a list of drop boxes for OpSend items (ideas, suggestions, guidelines and prohibited items are listed here) on the Military Missions website. The actual packing assemblies will be held on Wednesday, 16 November and Wednesday 30, November and anyone who is available to come lend a hand is encouraged to do so.

For the rest of us, we have options.

If you would prefer to donate hand-written notes or cards (or children's drawings), details can be found here. If you would like to write a check to be used toward the purchase of care package supplies or to help pay the shipping fees for all of these flat-rate boxes (wouldn't it be awesome if the federal government would ship them for free? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah.), check out this page. Getting the word out to your friends is easy with this page dedicated to all of the social media where Military Missions has a presence.

Neal and I are experiencing a deployment first. He is home for the holidays at the beginning and end of the deployment. A 400-day mobilization usually means that you miss Christmas at the front end or the back. Holidays without your servicemember is a giant pot of suck and although the American public tends to be hypersensitive to military families over the holidays, it's still nice to receive some recognition for (what I consider to be) a deep sacrifice. Email a little information about your servicemember and Beth will make him or her the Hero of the Day, which gets posted on the blog and Facebook. And, as always, you can add your hero to the mailing list here.

Beth and her husband have worked with civilians in the central Kentucky area and beyond to grow Military Missions to what it is today. Through personal heartache and seemingly insurmountable circumstances, they have to continued to reach beyond the yellow ribbon to support our troops and their families back home. She only asks that we support her mission in return. I ask that you find something in this list or on the Military Missions website to assist with over the holidays. As for me, I have a few boxes of Christmas cards to buy and a Sam's Club run to make!


  1. Fourth of July, darling! :)

    I'm going to check out the website and see if there are any drop off places in our area. I LOVE this idea. Thanks for the info!

    And Happy Veterans' Day! So glad Neal is home safely!

  2. What a great organization. I just stopped over there to lend some support and I'll be passing it along to some other people.

  3. What a great operation! My 8 year old draws a picture of a tank and a flag every Veteran's day. :)

  4. THIS is a great idea. Thank you for a great suggestion. And an alternative to talking to strangers.

  5. That's awesome, I have another friend here with a deployed service member and she is heavily involved with Military Missions. I will definitely check the list and drop some stuff by there, I am making this promise right now!


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