Saturday, December 24, 2005

Thank Any Soldier...

The following is from an email newsletter I receive from the Health Sciences Institute in Baltimore. This issue was about "Any Soldier, Inc." It was published around Thanksgiving, but if you wish to do something for our soldiers to boost their morale and spirits, this would be worth consideration, for the holidays and throughout the rest of the year, too.

Here is the email from Jenny Thompson of the Health Sciences Institute:

Thank Any Soldier

A friend of mine named Michelle lost an uncle in the invasion of Normandy.

She once showed me some of the letters her uncle Jim sent home when he was stationed in England. In one letter, Jim wrote about "Tuxedo Junction," which Benny Goodman had recorded just a couple years earlier. Jim had danced to the song with a British girl he'd met. And he was "wowed" by London, having grown up in Montpelier, Vermont.

Jim was only 20 years old and his writing style was boyish and upbeat. But at the end of each letter (most of them were written to Michelle's father; Jim's younger brother) his mood turned a little solemn when he asked his brother to give his love to "the folks" and say hello to mutual friends.

Change some of the wording and a few details here and there and any of those letters could have been written yesterday, postmarked Baghdad, Kabul, or other points around the world where U.S. soldiers are stationed.

As we prepare for our mad rush through the holiday season it's safe to say that this is the toughest time of year to be a soldier far from home. But there's an easy and very satisfying way you can help boost the morale of men and women who serve our country.

Sharing support

Last year around this time I first told you about Any Soldier, Inc. As I said then, don't let the "Inc." fool you - this is a grassroots organization started more than two years ago by Sgt. Brian Horn, along with his mother and father Marty and Sue, of LaPlata, Maryland.

Sgt. Horn is now stationed in Afghanistan, but in the summer of 2003 he was in northern Iraq with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. His parents often sent him care packages, and when they found out he was sharing items from the packages with other soldiers who weren't receiving anything from home, they had an idea.

The Horns contacted friends and relatives and asked them to donate items to send. Then, in addition to the packages for their son, they also included separate packages addressed to "Any Soldier." Brian distributed the additional packages, and as you can imagine they were gratefully received.

Marty (who served in the Army for 20 years) soon started a web site called Any Soldier ( Two years later, the circle of donors has expanded far beyond the Horn family. And Brian isn't handling the distribution of packages all by himself anymore; he's getting plenty of help from more than 3,600 military contacts. At this point, Any Soldier has delivered supportive items to more than 100,000 soldiers in all branches of the military, both active duty and reservists.

Here's where we come in

What do soldiers like to receive? According to Marty's site, a letter is the most valued item - just a card or letter of support.

But so much more is needed. Many soldiers lack simple necessities that we take for granted back home. For instance, skin care products such as sun block, lib balm and moisturizers are highly valued items in the harsh climate of the Middle East. And apparently CDs and DVDs are welcome morale boosters.

For ideas about what to send - as well as specific instructions about how to send letters and items - just visit

This is a perfect way to remind our men and women in uniform just how grateful we are for the tremendous sacrifices they make. And I hope you'll help get the word out by forwarding this e-mail to friends and family members.

Happy Thanksgiving!


...and another thing

Time changes some things for the better, and other things...well, not so much.

Here's a funny list I received from a friend this week. Maybe you can get some laughs with it at the dinner table on Thursday.

This is titled "1975/2005 List." And as my friend noted, it's only for those whose level of maturity qualifies them to relate to it.

1975: Long hair
2005: Longing for hair

1975: Moving to California because it's cool
2005: Moving to Arizona because it's warm

1975: Keg
2005: EKG

1975: Going to a new hip joint
2005: Getting a new hip joint

1975: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2005: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1975: Acid rock
2005: Acid reflux

1975: Passing the driver's test
2005: Passing the vision test

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson

source: HSI: Any Soldier...


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