"Friday, December 25, 2009
The other night I got an e-mail that contained photographs of boxes loaded into Apache helicopters headed for bases somewhere overseas.
Bullets? Grenades? Nope!
The photos showed that more than 125 boxes of treats and “time-passers” from Central Texas made it all the way to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
VFW Post 6008 provided shipping for all the donations. The Heart of Texas Chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America collected, packaged and processed the goodies."
This year was particularly difficult. Many people gave us a grim prognosis for our annual holiday package program. Most of the naysayers’ arguments were based on the economic pain that our community has been experiencing with the recession. I’ll admit some of us were worried a bit, but we couldn’t let Christmas go by without at least trying.
Thanks to the Tribune-Herald and our Clear Channel Radio stations, Blue Star Mothers got the word out about collecting items for our troops.
Donations poured in from all over the region, given from a place in the heart that cherishes service and sacrifice. Some donors have children overseas or had once served in faraway places themselves. Many spoke to us of knowing the loneliness of a holiday spent in a war zone. Some knew what it was like to gather around that Christmas dinner table that was missing a child or a father or a mother.
The list of churches, businesses, civic organizations and individuals who helped us is far too long to publish here, but you know who you are. Thank you and God bless you all.
So with the holiday period at last here, as we immerse ourselves merrily in tinsel and twinkling lights, imagine what your donations have done.
You have brought the warmth and love of home to men and women who find themselves in harm’s way during this season of peace. You took time in October and November to remember those on the front lines. Because of your generosity, this week soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will receive packages that bring the good wishes and heartfelt prayers of our community.
I remember a photograph that we got from our son after his first Christmas in Iraq. Proudly displayed on his bunk was an array of treats in a Christmas stocking. There were cards, cookies, candy, cigars and games. It was a modest assortment by United States standards. But the faces of those men told it all. For just a few minutes, combat missions and IEDs were faraway thoughts. Those boxes brought the smells and tastes of home. I saw smiles all around.
May your holiday be blessed, and when your celebrations begin, please know that you have shown our troops that they are both loved and appreciated.
Mary Duty, co-owner of Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, is president of the Heart of Texas Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America.
Mary Duty, Christmas guest column: Making sure Christmas isn't blue for our troops overseas: