An Answer-It Does Not go Unnoticed

The middle school students at my church, Holy Angels, wrote letters of gratitude to our service members. Here is a reply.

My name is Ben Robinson, I am a Captain in the Army currently serving in Afghanistan. I recently received two care packages from the USO of Northern Ohio (specifically the Chagrin Falls branch) and wanted to take the time to write you and the two children who wrote the notes to say thank you. I (as well as the men that serve with me) greatly appreciate the packages and the notes! Conditions here are somewhat austere, and a care package from the States always brightens everyone’s mood! On that note, please tell Macy and Eva (who wrote the two letters I received) that it means a lot to hear from them and I thank them for taking the time and going to the effort to write. Knowing that people are living normal lives back in the States and that our children can go to school and church in peace makes every day worth it over here. So thank you again for all that you do for us service members overseas – we appreciate the thoughts and prayers. Trust me, it does not go unnoticed by us!

Respectfully,

Ben Robinson
CPT, IN

Please continue to pray for our deployed soldiers and their families. Thank you Captain Ben for all you do.

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USO Volunteers Are Faithful to Our Troops

When my son was deployed, all I could do was pray and send my love in packages from home.  The volunteers at the USO in Bainbridge, Ohio show up every week to pack boxes to send to our remaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an article from the Chagrin Valley Times, Joan Demirjian tells about the volunteers  including John and Beverly Magyar who say, “We love the troops, and we want to do something to help them.”

Noel Burr, volunteer coordinator for the Bainbridge USO, wrote a chapter, “What’s a Mother To Do?” in our book, Love You More Than You Know. The program is in need of donations  as “the USO is facing rising postal rates, with the cost now at $13.45 per box.”  Other items that are needed include: trail mix, dried fruit, coffee and tea packets, small packages of cookies and crackers, candy, gum, fruit and applesauce in small containers, plus personal items. If you can help, call 440-338-7221 for a list of requested items or to make a donation. Do what you can to help our troops.

Letter Writing Campaign by Middle School Students

As the mother of a veteran, I was delighted to speak to 300 middle school students in the Launch program at my parish, Church of the Holy Angels in Chagrin Falls, Ohio this past weekend. The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders started a new service project to show gratitude to our troops.  Besides a letter writing campaign thanking soldiers for their service, students are collecting items to send soldiers who may not be receiving any mail.

Packages will be sent through our local USO center. Students stood and said the names of their family members, past and present, who served or are serving our country. Students continue to pray for our troops safety.

Warren Henry Music Helps Sooth the GI Blues

A locally owned music store in Chagrin Falls, Ohio does more than just talk about their motto of “musicians helping musicians”. They help put songs in the hearts of deployed soldiers by sending them donated guitars.

We have teamed up with the USO for this service project.  Bring in any guitar that has been sitting unused to donate, and we will clean-repair-restring it as needed.  Then the USO will help us get the instrument to a deployed service member from NE Ohio at no charge to them.  Your old guitar will never be more appreciated than in the hands of someone so far from home.  What better could there be way to say “thank you” and spread the gift of music!  We are also accepting cash donations to pay for accessories like extra strings.

Give the gift of music and bring your used guitars, gathering dust in your closet, to Warren Henry Music, 49 W Orange St. Chagrin Falls, Ohio or phone 440-247-0300. You will leave with a song in your heart for having helped our courageous servicemen and woman so far from home.

Join the USO “Thanks from Everywhere “Campaign

I just added a message of thanks to our troops. The USO’s map already shows messages from 30,000 caring people. (You can search for messages by area code.)

“This is such a great way”, says Rose McGowan, “to give our troops some inspiration and comfort. Though many of them will spend Thanksgiving far from home and their families, I want them to be able to look at a map that’s lit up with notes of gratitude — from everywhere in the country.”

To send a message of thanks click here.

Giving Back

Ralph & Noel Burr (left side) Michele Chapdelaine, (back row right side) Kathy O'Donnell, Brian Walrath

It’s 2pm on Monday. I open the door and walk inside the room. Music plays quietly in the background. Five volunteers sort donations at the USO site in Brainbridge, Ohio.

Michele Chapdelaine says, ” I’m here in Jeff’s honor. My son serves, and I joined the USO so I can serve. ”  Michele’s son,  Jeff is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

Noel Burr, author of “What’s a Mother to Do?” in Love You More Than You Know, and her husband Ralph, a retired Army Colonel, help run this site. Noel and Ralph started packing boxes at the Chagrin Falls Armory in 2003 when their daughter Kathy was deployed to Kuwait. These parents continue to be involved with the USO. Noel says, “It makes us feel connected.”

Kathy O’Donnell told me her husband, Admiral Bill O’Donnell, was in the Reserves for 32 years. “I volunteer at the USO because I’m an American and want these guys and gals to be taken care of !

Brian Walrath carries boxes into the room. “I was one of those kids 40 years ago and thought I would do something for these kids today.”

Thank you to these volunteers and all those who give back by supporting our troops. Donations for this USO site can be dropped off at Highway Garage, 8410 E. Washington, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023. There is a box inside the door marked “Donations”. Highway Garage is open weekdays 8:30am-6pm; Sat 9am-12pm.

Note: Noel says,” All we need is an address and the estimated date of returning home.  We love what we do. Donations of toiletries and snack foods gratefully accepted.  Anyone can stop by and see what we do on Mon or Wed at 2pm to 3pm.”

USO | Support Our Troops | United Service Organizations | 4th of July Message to Our Troops

Show your support for our troops. Add a message to the USO wall of support by clicking on this link.

USO | Support Our Troops | United Service Organizations | 4th of July Message to Our Troops.

Little Things

It doesn’t seem like much–a package here, an email there–sending little things to our deployed soldiers just to let them know we are thinking about them. And yet the thank you back says it all. It does make a difference.  These are excerpts from emails from two deployed soldiers:

“It brings a smile and a warmth to my heart whenever I walk into the mailroom and see I have a package or letter.”

“. . . ( I ) would gladly defend everyone in it (our country) at anytime!”

***

“It means alot to me.”

” . . . It touches me and keeps me going! ”

“. . . (People are) the reason Im proud to serve our country and keep everyone safe!!”

Another little thing we can all do is to say a prayer for all of our troops. God bless our servicemen and woman and bring them home safely to those who love them.

Find your local USO and volunteer.