My interest in Memorial Day, paying tribute to all the brave women and men who have given their life in service to our country, was stirred during the Iraq war. I didn’t have any friends or family who served in the military but my heart went out to all the soldiers doing two and three tours of duty. I felt for them and their families. About the time I was listening closely to the news everyday in horror I found out about Soldier’s Angels.
Soldiers’ Angels was started by a self-described ordinary mother of two American soldiers, Patti Patton-Bader. Her eldest son, Staff Sergeant Brandon Varn, deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004, and her youngest was deployed in 2008.
In the summer of his 2003, Brandon expressed concern that some soldiers in his deployed unit did not receive any mail or support from home. Being a loving and caring mother, Patti decided not to allow a situation like that to continue. She quickly contacted a handful of friends and extended family and asked if they would support a soldier or two. Within just a few months, Soldiers’ Angels went from a mother sending a few extra care packages and letters, to an Internet community with thousands of Angels worldwide.
With more and more merchants donating services, money and items for packages, Soldiers’ Angels reorganized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2004. Soldiers’ Angels currently supports tens of thousands of American military personnel around the world and here at home. Today hundreds of thousands of volunteers are led by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees as Soldiers’ Angels works around the world to address military-related needs ranging from deployed support to wounded care, to remembrance of the fallen and a wide variety assistance for military families.
I wanted to be one of the mothers who sent packages to a soldier. I clicked on to www.soldiersangels.org and was immediately given the name of a soldier. Within a few days we were in contact and I began sending him supplies that he needed and wanted. Often I would send too much of one item and he would share with fellow soldiers. Receiving letters and goodies from home mean more than we can possibly imagine. They have very little and living conditions are extrememly adverse. We corresponded for a few years until his tour of duty was over.
I urge each of you to go to this mavelous website and see how easy they make it for you to help a soldier in this way. And a big, big, thank you to all the men and women who give of themselves every day of their life. We love you and appreciate you and honor you on this Memorial Day.