It has been a while since I have submitted anything here, but have been busy, busy, busy!
As a board member of OP and proud supporter of our troops, I want to stress how important it is to keep these hardworking men and women in our thoughts every day. The shipments we send out on a year round basis, are terrific morale boosters to our stressed out soldiers. Our next campaign is "TREATS FOR THE TROOPS" where we are collecting Halloween goodies (See flyer for suggested donations). Collection deadline is October 5, and my office here in Purcellville is a collection site for Western Loudoun. Go to www.operationpinecone.org for additional collection sites in the Northern Virginia area. Thanks for your help and support! Nancy~
update from OPERATION PINECONE HEADQUARTERS, and Mary Hacker, President and Founder:
Good Afternoon Everyone, It's turned pretty dreary here in South Riding but I guess it's nothing compared to what people on the gulf coast are experiencing today. We shipped out another load of care packages yesterday to about half of the contacts at the camps in Iraq and Afghanistan that we have been trying to send support to. I wanted to give everyone an update on our latest and upcoming programs as people are starting to ask about deadlines: -This month and through October 5th, we are also asking for special donations for our "Treats for Troops" Halloween campaign that we do every year. I'm attaching a flyer if anyone would like to print it out and take up a collection at their school or office on our behalf. Please contact me if you need any more details (or supplies if your group would like to stuff the little treat bags). -Also from now through November we will also be making plans for and collecting Christmas and winter holiday items for our service members both abroad and at military hospitals. So, if you are out shopping and see a great sale on something we hope you will keep the troops in mind. This also includes holiday decorations and cards (for the troops to send back to their loved ones) which will be shipped in mid November. -Speaking of winter Holidays, I just scheduled our first Holiday packing party at the new Dulles South Multi-purpose Center for Sat., Nov. 22., from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Please mark your calendars if you would like to plan on coming to help or just dropping off a donation. This is the Sat. before Thanksgiving. I know it seems early to many but the post office wants all care packages for the troops shipped by the first week in December. -Attached is one of the more recent thank you letters we have received. This was in response to phone cards we purchased in June with funds left in the budget at the end of our fiscal year in June. -Speaking of fiscal year end. I wanted to let you know that we sent out a batch of receipts last week and will be sending out another next week. These will be for the first six months of 2008 only which is our 2007 fiscal year ending 06/30/08. In January we do the receipts for the second half of 2008. Thank you again to all of you who have donated and continue to donate throughout the year. Lastly, I wanted to share the e-mail below that I received about an hour ago. I was writing to a few of our contacts to verify if there was any changes to their return dates, etc. and see how they were doing. I received this response below from Col. Hughes who I had cc'd on one of the e-mails I had written to Sam, a combat medic in Iraq. (Col. Hughes who is now stateside, was a commander at FOB Q-West in Iraq in 2006 and he asked us to send packages to Sam). Here is what Col Hughes wrote back to both Sam and I. Have a good weekend....Mary....read below Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Mary and Sam - I was out yesterday (9/11) so I'm just now reading this
I find it interesting that two of my favorite people on the planet are
emailing each other from halfway around the world on 9/11 - one in a
Combat Zone - the other supporting from home - both complete strangers
to each other - except that they both have a common love of Country and
a love of Soldiers... Pretty cool.
Sam - again, many thanks for keeping my sorry ass going in Mosul. You
have a true and dedicated friend in me for as long as I'm breathing,
brother (always - no shit).
Mary - again, many thanks for boosting the morale of so many Soldiers
and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan... Including, mine, Sam's, my
Nephew's, and so many countless others... Like Sam, you too have a true
friend in me always.
Sam - as medic, saving lives is your primary mission... I've seen you
in action and you can be proud of your performance... We were lucky to
have you at our FOB Courage Aid Station, bro. Besides our wounds and
injuries, you took care of our aches, pains, and illnesses and helped us
feel better, which directly impacted our morale and mental state... You
kept us in the fight... You identified and helped many of our brothers
who were suffering from depression and the onset of PTSD, and thus
prevented some of them from doing themselves harm.
Mary - believe it or not, low morale leads to depression, which can lead
to thoughts of self destruction and then suicide... Your Operation
Pinecone Care Packages actually may have saved some troops from self
destruction by raising morale by sending them some love, comfort,
kindness, and support from back home... Good work, girl!!!
I'm glad I was able to introduce you two (all be it via email)... Sam,
it's your job now to find Mary a solid point of contact (or two) at PB
Olson (from the new unit that's rotating in) to take your place for
distributing her care packages. Given that PB Olson has no PX, those
guys coming in are going to want that same "love" that you received and
distributed, yes? So get her some names, mailing addresses, and most
importantly those new POC's EMAIL addresses... Maybe you can contact
the incoming unit Medics that will be assigned to the PB Aid Station and
have them be the POC's? Maybe they can provide you that information
sooner than later? If not, just have incoming guys give you their
contact info to you/Mary as soon as they arrive, or maybe just leave
instructions with somebody at PB Olson on how to contact Mary in order
for them to coordinate/request OPN Pinecone Care Packages from Mary via
Bottom line; I'd hate to see the guys that occupy PB Olson suffer
through a long rotation without any goodies, you tracking with me here
Meanwhile, stay safe, old buddy... You too Mary.
Big Hugs to you Both.
God Bless - John