Random Act of Patriotism

I left work a bit early today to shop for the troops. I have sent care packages to many people over the years since the Iraq War begun. I am approaching one hundred care packages now, most of them going to people I have never met.

As of late people I know have been deployed and I have concentrated my efforts on them.

Today in my grocery basket was two large bags of Jolly Ranchers, a dozen Hersheys bars with almonds, and a container each of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and onion powder. The sauces and onion powder will be combined with other ingredients to make homemade beef jerky, always a favorite with the troops. The Jolly Ranchers and chocolate bars were going to be sent as is.

The woman behind me in the checkout line said that I was a sweettooth, just like her. I said that the chocolate wasn’t for me. She asked me “then who is it for?” I usually in these cases just say “for a friend”, but today for whatever reason said, truthfully “these bars and Jolly Ranchers are what a friend of mine who is now serving on an aircraft carrier said he wanted. So I am going to pack them up with some homemade beef jerky and send him a care package”. The woman said that I was a great person for doing that and I assured her that the truly great people are the ones on the carrier.

Just before I went to checkout the woman in front of me turned to me and said that she overheard my conversation with the woman behind me and insisted that I have her change – all $6.23 of it. “This is to help you ship that stuff to your buddy. Tell him he is appreciated.” Before I could refuse it she was gone and I was left standing there with $6.23 in my hand, which I really was quite unsure what to do with. The cashier said “Well put it in your wallet! And tell that guy that we are praying for him and love him and are so proud of what he is doing for us”.

What great people. It gets tiring at times being a conservative living in Madison with all of the hatred of the right that goes on here, but today was special…special indeed.

14 thoughts on “Random Act of Patriotism”

  1. Very good to hear.

    Stories like yours hearten me. Madison is a lake of fantasy surrounded by reality. Fortunately it appears there are some islands of reality in that lake.

    (PS: I’m a badger. Graduated in 2002)

  2. Smitten Eagle – glad to hear you know the area. If you come back for a game or something drop me an email and we will share many malted beverages. I am an Illinois grad myself, looking very much forward to my beloved Illini visiting Madison this fall.

  3. Dan-

    And the care packages are appreciated. And notes and letters are also appreciated, even more than the jerky and whatnot. The units I’ve deployed with often had an MRE box full of letters to “Any Soldier” or “Any Marine.” If we needed a pick-up, it was usually good to see a letter, especially from a nice girl with really femanine handwriting. It’s trite, but it really does remind us of home.

    I’m not sure what the current DoD policy on “Any Soldier” letters…I heard a while back that the Pentagon was trying to cut back on those in order to protect the troops from random acts of terrorism (anthrax-laced letters and whatnot).

  4. The leftist control of the media has many evil effects. One of them is that many people who have conservative values, or who respect our military personnel, think they are the only ones who think that way. When you speak up, you find that all kinds of people are pleased and surprised to find out they are not the only “weirdo” who thinks that way.

  5. We took up a collection of to send nerf and water guns to some soldiers we knew who were based outside of Tirkit and couldn’t go off their base. It’s really nice how many people pitched it.

    I think a lot of people would like to get involved helping the liberation effort but they really don’t have a means of doing so.

  6. “I think a lot of people would like to get involved helping the liberation effort but they really don’t have a means of doing so.”

    This is only partially true. There are many, many organizations and websites out there that can give you contact names and information for units serving all over the world. That is how I got started. It costs next to nothing to sit down and write a letter to people who are deployed and hardly any money to mail it. Time is the function there.

    As far as care packages go, cost can vary. I am fortunate to have extra income, so I have chosen to make sending care packages to troops/sailors/airmen as part of my charitable donations. A standard care package usually costs me around $20-$40 for the goods inside, and about $15 for the postage, if you choose parcel post.

    The worst part, of course, is going to the post office and standing in line and, unfortunately, it cannot be avoided. Sigh.

  7. And then there is this attitude toward the trooops. By the way, these packages must be really good sized if they don’t go through the mail-it-yourself option – or doesn’t your post office have one?

  8. Ginny – the best strategy is to send smaller boxes, usually mine are about 12″ x 15″ x 6″. You are not allowed to use the do it yourself line because you have to fill out a customs form describing the contents of the box and it has to be manually examined and stamped by a clerk.

  9. This is an uplifting post! How nice you are and how nice it was for the woman to give you the extrachange.

    *I had signed up to send letters and cards through Soldier’s Angels in the past and the first letter that I sent, I, uh, typed. I thought it was cheery and friendly and actually legible, which is not something anyone would say about my handwriting. Later on, to my great embarrassment, I found out that typing wasn’t quite kosher. I read one milblogger gently making fun of the typed letters. Oops!

    Cards work better, I’ve learned.

  10. Oh, I should clarify that the milblogger (and I can’t remember who it was) was gently making fun of typed letters in general, not mine in particular. It was one of those ‘top ten’ lists. What not to send in a care package, etc.

  11. MD – they should make exception for doctors: it’s an occupational handicap. I always admired the guys at the pharmacy counter, for being able to decipher doctors’ squiggles on prescriptions.

  12. Tatyana,

    We don’t do handwritten scripts around these parts – they are all computer printouts and perfectly legible :)

    *I wish, years ago, when I was picking an internet ‘handle’, I had thought to do something more original than the initials to my name, which, yes, are the same as those in a degree.

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