It’s been a pretty amazing week. First, we took part in a heart-wrenching but spirit-lifting weekend celebrating the life of SPC Marc Decoteau in Waterville Valley. Then came the USA Today piece, which ran in the print edition Tuesday (Oct. 12) and online here, and sparked some very exciting activity in terms of donations (thanks for representing, Louisiana, Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, New York, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, Utah and Massachusetts), including what may very well be our first five-figure donor … something we hope to confirm (and tell everyone about, loudly) later today.
USA Today also has generated some additional media interest for the cause, including a few potential network appearances as we approach Veterans Day and the 500,000-made mark. And here’s to our good buddy, Yuri Pride (pictured at right), who submitted a blurb that ran in the Hot Clicks column of SI.com, under “Charitable Efforts.” (Very incidentally, you should know this about Yuri: Do not challenge him to a hand-in-the-snow/high-five contest, whereby you see who can outlast the other. He will never lose.) Can’t wait to see you again, Dr. Pride.
Most importantly, this week has brought us the kinds of messages that will sustain us as we approach, and then take on, the second half of this effort. Here are a few of them:
I’m about to make my second trip to Afghanistan and it makes me feel a lot better about what I’m doing knowing we still have the support of our country.
As someone who cares deeply for a young man in harm’s way and who prays daily for his and his unit’s safety, I am grateful for your efforts to be mindful of those who are serving and sacrificing.
It is inspirational to me to see people doing their part to help raise awareness and funding to help take care of soldiers when they need it.
I would like to volunteer to help on or about Nov 6th, when I will be traveling in the NH area. My son Adam just deployed to Iraq yesterday for a year and my nephew Dennis gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Iraq in 2006.
As a retired veteran and father of two who are currently serving, I want to congratulate you on each dollar you raise and I pray that you reach your goals. A military service member stands a little taller when a stranger tells them how much they are appreciated.
As the mother of a brave and valiant Army Captain who lost a leg in Iraq, I would like to thank you for your special support of our brave troops and their families.
As an active duty service member, I wanted to say thank you. It means a great deal to have people like you thinking of us.
I’m well aware of the cynics out there (I mean you, “Beers for Troops” guy) who may say that sharing these excerpts is self-congratulatory, and that’s fine … but it’s missing the point. While many of us, me included, know of these physical and emotional traumas only by reading the words (“ultimate sacrifice,” “pray daily for his and his unit’s safety,” “second trip to Afghanistan,” “lost a leg in Iraq”), thousands of soldiers and families are living them, with every waking breath. Right now.
If you and I can make even a small difference to some of them — raising a few dollars, being mindful of their sacrifices, sending our prayers, just thinking of them — we’re at least doing something.
What we’re doing is collectively saying thank you. That’s the point.