You might have read my previous post, Helping the Troops on February 7th about Chaplain Maj. Norris Burkes in Iraq who was asking for items that the troops needed. I read his spirituality column in the local newspaper every Saturday and that particular week in February he was asking for help.
Chaplain Burkes (former Air Force) is recently retired hospital Chaplain, but signed back up when a call came for the need of chaplains in Iraq. So he signed up for a tour which ends in April I believe. Brave and wonderful thing to do Chaplain Burkes. God bless you.
I happened to earn $19 CVS bucks from all those many, many purchases I make of supplies for mom and prescriptions, etc. Great little reward system. I had this $19 coupon for a couple weeks and really didn’t know why I hung on to it so long. Free money!
Well, about the time the coupon was getting ready to expire I read the article about helping the troops and I said to myself, “Flamingo girl, this is where the $19 CVS reward bucks will go, and Flamingo 91 you match it.” So yes, I spruced up my feathers and headed to CVS on Friday, February 13th (my lucky day) to buy some of the items on the list. CVS was having a great sale which I took advantage of and even spent more than my match. I had a nice variety of items(from food snacks to toothbrushes, tissues, wipes, lots of variety of items requested) which I boxed up and mailed out that day. I added a short note to Chaplain Burkes telling him a little about my brother, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby and how I wanted to help. Of course I added a big GO ARMY! on the card (this was being sent to an Air Force Base)! I knew that would bring a laugh, smile, something.
I wanted to help, and this was so easy to do. However, I did learn a little from this endeavor that will make the next mailing all the better. You see, I boxed up the items in my own box and took it to the local mailing center. Big mistake.
A couple weeks later in the newspaper was a big thank you article from Chaplain Burkes as boxes were flowing in with the much needed items (care packages from home). In this article was also a bit more about how to send packages to troops. Now why the mailing center didn’t tell me this??? I’m sure it had to do with profit, but…
Anyway, bottom line. Go to the US Post Office and pick up a box specifically designed for mailing to troops overseas. It’s a Flat Rate mailing of $11.50 I believe. You can load that box up as heavy as you want and it’s still $11.50. Be sure to pick up a Customs form as that will have to be filled out also. I spent over $22 mailing my own box. So, lesson learned here. Go to the US Post Office first.
It’s so easy to pick up a few items every time I go to the grocery store or pharmacy and put them in the box. When full, seal it up and take it to the post office and pick up another free box, do the same to fill it up and mail it out for $11.50. Now how hard is that, and look what you’re doing to support our troops and you know exactly where your money went.
I send money to large organizations, and smaller ones who send “care packages” however, I wanted to do something myself from myself and know exactly where it was going. Felt good in my heart. I mailed the box letting it go and just hoping it made it to it’s destination. No one knew what I was doing except my husband, and a couple close friends.
Well, last week I was home sick with a cold and feeling poorly. My husband comes in with the mail and brings an envelope to me and says, “You have mail” and he was smiling big time. I saw the return address with an APO address and thought who is this from. Then it dawned on me…it was from Iraq. I opened it up to this very wonderful thank you card which was printed from a computer at the AF base. (As soon as I get my scanner working I’ll add the card.)
Some facts on the back of the card about Troy’s Place:
– Deisgned as a quiet place to allow troops to relax in a wholesome
enviornment in their off duty time.
-Open 24/7 to any personnel on Balad AB.
– Originally housed in a tent alongside the chapel, completely built and
ran by volunteers.
– Due to construction of the new Gilbert Memorial Chapel, the tent was
taken down and Troy’s Place moved into the 332nd AEW Chapel office
-Troy’s Place provides many comfort itmes such as snacks and drinks to keep
our troops encouranged and refreshed. Many toiletry itmes and miscellaneous
games and stationery are also available.
-Troy’s Place offers visitors videos, books, music and magazines.
-Troy’s Place runs solely on items donated from friends and loved ones from
I didn’t put my return address on the short note I wrote to Chaplain Burkes as I really didn’t need a thank you so they must have gotten my address from the box itself. It was a general thank you note sent to all who send a package. I was humbled. I was happy. I smiled and it made my day completely.
Then, don’t you know this past Saturday was another article in the newspaper from Chaplain Burkes thanking everyone again. He was amazed at the response to his request from his article which is published across the nation. The article explained if there was a note or card in the package it was given to Chaplain Burkes and that if one didn’t put a return address they would send a general thank you to the person on the return label of the package, otherwise Chaplain Burkes would send a note. Most people, like me (as the article noted), just put a note in the box to Chaplain Burkes and not expecting a thank you so we didn’t include our address in our personal note to him.
So folks, take the time and send a package to someone you know or don’t know serving our country. I asked a friend of mine, Army Chaplain Whiz Broome, if he knew of an Army group that needed such items as I’m a huge Army supporter. He pointed me to America Supports You which has a huge list of places you can look for names. Some of these are organizations that send packages however some will supply you with an actual person to send your package to.
Here’s the mailing address for Troy’s Place:
APO AE 09315-9997
Now go cheer up a soldier’s heart with a little care package from home.