Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Passion

Packages from our Third Annual JF Burns Loves the Troops Care Package Drive

See that?  That's my passion...helping to support our troops.  Why? I have two sons who are brave enough to serve our country, protect & defend our freedom.  They are not the only reason but they are certainly the driving force.  You see, once you are part of a military family, you realize that all branches of the military are part of your family.  The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, etc. they are all your family.  You feel a special connect to members of a military family that you don't with others because you share the same types of experiences. Separation, unknown, unrest, deployments, struggles, government cuts, etc.  A kinship that is different from all others.  We are in this together - we look out for, love & support each other.  You celebrate with them, you cry with them, you worry with them.  You understand what they are going through in a way that only a military family can.  Our lives revolve around leaves, deployments and promotions.  We watch the news differently than most.  We pay attention to what cuts are being made where & why when it comes to the government budgets.

A military mom is a different breed.  It didn't take me long to find out that there is a special sisterhood among military moms.  We will take care of each other and each other's families in a second.  Swiftly, without hesitation.  An encouraging card or letter to military family member who is lonely, homesick or in need of encouragement, care packages, special keepsakes for siblings struggling with separation and the list goes on.  

These boxes represent so much more to me than I could ever explain.  An idea that started three years ago when my son was deployed.  The thought that our deployed service members receive all kinds of letters and packages during the holidays but after that, it's back to what's their version of normal.  I thought it would be nice for them to know we were still thinking about them.  It began with a conversation with our PTO president, who is also a friend. She loved the idea, so we pitched it to our principal, who is a big military supporter.  

The first year we shipped off 27 packages to loved ones of the kids at the school.  The second year, 34 boxes went to a Kings High School graduate who had attended my daughter's elementary school.  His former teachers wrote letters to  go in the packages. His mom & sister came to help and we overwhelmed.  Typing this now, my eyes tear up because I could feel her pain and joy at the same time.  I found a new friend because of that project.  She happens to live in my neighborhood as well.  

This year, I had to look a little further for our package recipients.  Not too far though. We found 3 Kings High School graduates through my contact at the high school and a close family friend of a family at the school.  This year, 46 boxes were packed and shipped.  46!  I didn't have time to process that until after the packages were at the post office.  As I drove off from the post office that afternoon, I sobbed.  I sobbed because I am so thankful to live in this community that is so supportive of our military and their families.  Many are not as fortunate as we are to have this type of support.  This is my passion - supported by my community. I hope to do more & more of this, to see these projects grow and grow.  

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