I may have written about this before, but it bears repeating.
I co-chair Project Support Our Troops. Our mission? To support our military, wherever they may be stationed, with letters of support and boxes filled with goodies to brighten their day. We have been on this “mission” for 13 years now, each and every month, packing and sending boxes to our troops.
What many folks may not realize: That is only part of our mission. Sure, we collect donations each month, we put miles on our vehicles to pick up those donations, we sort the items, we build boxes and fill them with the things donated that month, we write letters to include in the boxes, we receive hundreds of letters from school kids, veterans and individuals from all over Erie, Crawford and other counties to include in the boxes as well. We go through miles of packing tape and thousands of dollars to pay for postage.
But a very large part of what we do is simply to open our hearts and arms to all of those who volunteer their time to help us with this mission.
We have family members with loved ones currently serving our country or deployed around the globe who come to help pack boxes. We listen to their fears; we help them where we can. We laugh with them and, at times, we cry with them.
We listen to the stories of the older veterans and do our best to learn from them and feel honored that they were willing to share their story.
We welcome into our Veteran Family those who may come to a packing whom we have not met before. They may be a veteran who has struggled for years and has found their way to us. They may be a family member whose loved one has recently deployed, and they have found their way to us. They may be someone who has recently lost a loved one, and they find their way to us. It very well could be someone who just wants to help in some way. Our door and our arms are always open.
Another important aspect of our mission is simply this: Thank the veterans. Whether you see them at a veteran post, the post office, at work, in the grocery store ... thank them and be honored that they have provided to their country that which many may not or could not.
I was recently in a local store, standing in the checkout line, feeling rushed, needing to be somewhere and knowing I was going to be late. I noticed an older gentleman pass by wearing a Korean War Veteran ball cap. It didn’t take me much time to decide to leave the checkout line and walk up to this gentleman to thank him for his service. He was surprised at first, but his eyes lit up and we ended up standing there and talking for about 10 minutes. Was that 10 minutes worth it? Absolutely! Will I end up in that same position again? Yes! And I will be thankful and blessed for the time spent.
So we pack boxes? Sure. But, oh, what all goes into those “boxes”! How incredibly blessed we are as a post to be able to continue this mission, now in it’s 13th year. But more importantly, how incredibly blessed we are to be able to do so, in large part because of our veterans and the sacrifices they and their families have made throughout the decades to make this country of ours a great one. We thank you all.
God bless America and her troops.
Lengling is co-chair of Project Support Our Troops and a lifetime member of Veterans of the Vietnam War, Post 52/Welcome Home Association and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I may have written about this before, but it bears repeating.
WALK TALK: Vegas, UFC: Here we come
1 I know the saying is "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but I'm going to forgo that adage next week. After all, part of my week-long trip with three friends to Las Vegas includes my first in-person viewing of an Ultimate Fighting Championship card. I'll give you all the juicy and exciting details from UFC 160 in next week's column.
Seizure of phone records will hurt your right to know what government is up to
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
WALK TALK: LeBron’s near unanimous MVP and another hoax
1 LeBron James became the first player since 2000 to receive every vote but one while being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. It was his fourth MVP award, and it surely won’t be his last. The one thing I question in all this is the person who didn’t vote for James — The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. As I said here in February — back when he was scoring 30 points and making 60 percent of his shots every night — his winning the award was a lock. Washburn’s excuse is that the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony “meant more to this team” this season. He stopped LJ from becoming the first ever unanimous NBA MVP.
Spring brings back motorcycle memory from the old country
Traditionally, the sign of spring is manifested by the return of robins. But I know spring is really here when a roaring motorcycle goes by my house and my son’s shop gets full again with motorcycles that need serviced. Immediately, memories from my youth come back to me, and the following is one of those memories.
WALK TALK: OKC’s fate rests in Durant’s jump shot
1 The Western Conference favorite took a big hit a few days ago when Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook injured his knee and will be out until next season. It’s a huge blow for the Thunder, who lose their second-best player and offensive catalyst. So what does it mean? It means that Kevin Durant is going to have to score at least 40 every night if OKC has any hope of even getting out of the second round this season. We’ll truly see how great Durant is over the next few weeks now that his right-hand man is out.
By foot or by cycle, get moving
It’s been a little more than a year since my SUV died and I promised to report the results as I spent the next 12 months commuting on twos — by foot or by motorcycle.
Burning tires is a very bad deal for western Pennsylvania
Litigation is before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board on the Department of Environmental Protection’s air quality plan for the proposed Crawford Renewable Energy tire-burning plant in Crawford County. The plant is a terrible deal for the Meadville area, as it will emit far more harmful pollutants than its promoters have projected.
WALK TALK: Quarterbacks are still draft focus without elite choices
1 The NFL draft is in just two days, and there are many reports that not one quarterback will be taken until the second round for the first time since 1996. So the draft’s focus has to be on other players/positions, right? Nope. If anything, the lack of an elite QB only heightens the interest in when and who of the signal callers will be chosen first.
We all mourn the loss of Martin Richard — a martyr for freedom
We don’t know whether 8-year-old Martin Richard was killed by a domestic or foreign terrorist at the Boston Marathon. But all Americans tremble in our hearts when we think of the agony experienced by his family, which also endures serious injuries to his 6-year-old sister and his mother.
WALK TALK: A plunking will happen if you crowd the plate
1 The count is 3-2 on San Diego’s Carlos Quentin. A runner is on first during a 2-1 game in the sixth inning and Dodgers starter Zach Greinke is on the mound. Next thing we know, Greinke is checking to see if his collarbone is in its original place after accidentally hitting Quentin, who charged the mound seconds later. I cannot be any more on the side of Greinke and L.A. manager Don Mattingly, who said that Quentin should be suspended for as long as Greinke is injured. Quentin will be back in the lineup after eight days. It may be eight weeks until Greinke returns.
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