Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Friday, January 6, 2012

Adopt a Soldier

     I'm sure as the year progresses, I'm going to have plenty of days where my act of kindness is really small or when nothing particularly noteworthy presents itself.  But as much as possible, I want to continue to push myself to do things, large or small, that I wouldn't normally have done in the past.  Today, I took action on something that had been in the back of my mind for some time.
     Though I've had relatively minimal exposure to military life (none personally, and only a little through various family members), I wanted to find some way to support our soldiers overseas with letters and/or care packages. I knew there were a variety of organizations whose primary purpose was this type of support, but I didn't really know where to start.  So I did what we all do these days - I googled "how do I write a letter to a soldier?"  Not surprisingly, I found lots of good resources, and after exploring a number of them, I settled on a great organization called Soldiers' Angels.  
     After reading about the different opportunities to help, I settled on "adopting" a soldier.  This requires that I send a letter at least every week and a care package at least once each month.  In one sense it's a big commitment; in another sense it's the least I could do for those who are sacrificing so much on our behalf.  Having made the commitment, I was given the name and mailing address for "my" soldier.
     I wasn't quite sure how to start off the pen pal relationship, so I figured I'd just write a letter telling him who I am, and a little about my family, and then ask him a few questions.  The website warns that in some cases you may not hear back from your soldier, so I really don't know what to expect; but they also say that we should rest assured that getting regular mail means the world to our troops who are far away from home.
     To be honest, it surprised me a little that I felt a soft spot for this soldier who I may never meet or may never even hear from.  I could picture him as I wrote, imagining that he's likely very similar in age to my own children.  I hope he stays safe and that words from home are comforting to him.  
     It's not my intention with this blog to directly recommend specific actions for those who read this, though I do hope that some might be inspired to do their own acts of kindness.  For those so inclined, I'd encourage you to check out the website and consider the possibility of helping our soldiers in this way.

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