Thanks to Shop ‘N Save, Sheet Metal Workers 36 and Postal Workers Branch 343 from grateful soldiers fighting for us.
Afghanistan -Forward Operating Base- “Everyone was walking by in disbelief!”
With that comment, the efforts of dozens of volunteers at Christmas from Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, Letter Carriers Branch 343 and Shop ‘N Save were recognized from a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Afghanistan.
[frame src=”https://labortribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/korea.jpeg” width=”250″ height=”150″ align=”left” style=”2″ linkstyle=”none” title=”“Seeing that big truck with all those boxes was the closest thing to Christmas morning that I’ve felt since I was a kid… I can’t imagine how much love and hard work went into this project… we are all SO THANKFUL! I couldn’t go to sleep that night just thinking about all the people in Missouri who came together to do this for us. I wish I could have been there to see that day!” – Sgt. Lindsy Nicole Jones”]Recently the Labor Tribune received photos and a letter from the chaplain’s assistant at this forsaken front-line base after we published a full-page story in our Dec. 15, 2011 issue about the incredible gift of hundreds of packages of non-perishable items being sent to our troops just before last Christmas.
Shop ‘N Save solicited donations from their customers in an annual program they call “Treats for Troops.” Local 36 and Branch 343 packaged the tons of items left by customers, ponied up the postage, and shipped truckloads to this far-flung outpost.
“Thank you so much to your whole community for thinking of us and putting this great gift together for us. We feel thoroughly spoiled! The chaplain and I were brainstorming in August what to do for the soldiers for Christmas and this was the answer we needed,” writes chaplain’s assistant Sgt. Lindsy Jones.
To everyone who donated goods, volunteered countless hours to carefully package them and ship them, we print the chaplain’s letter of gratitude and this page of photos taken at the front line of our fighting troops receiving the joy from home while having to endure conditions most of us will never know.
The Christmas spirit lives on in the eyes of these very happy soldiers. Our freedoms in America live on because of them. May they all come home safely!
A chaplain’s letter of thanks for remembering the troops:
Thank you so much for our Christmas boxes! I can’t imagine how much love and work must have gone into that project!
They came in a few days before Thanksgiving and I spent the afternoon getting a place to put them all. Everyone was walking by in disbelief! It was so funny.
The first thing we did was get a forklift and put 5 pallets into a big shipping container at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Hughie which is where my unit lives. Then we loaded up the 5-ton truck with 5 more pallets and drove a mile up the road to FOB Finley-Shields where we have our Alpha Company that has about 60 of our soldiers and a lot more from another unit.
The truck was so full and the pallets were falling apart from the trip overseas, and the roads are really bad and bumpy. We were watching them on the back of the truck, just hoping and praying they wouldn’t bust and fall out into the streets, because the Afghan kids would have probably mobbed us!
We stacked them up in the A Co. and took the rest to the mailroom at Finley-Shields. We stacked them up around the outside so soldiers could get them as they came to check their mail. That was great because we have to stand in a really long line to get our mail and it’s disappointing when we wait for so long, and then don’t get anything. So that day everyone got a box!
The mailroom staff said people were coming with gaters (the golf-cart type vehicles we use) and getting whole truckloads to take back to their soldiers.
I had to be creative and find sneaky places to leave them. I left one pile in front of our small store, and small piles outside people’s office doors.
Over the next three weeks I mailed individual boxes to the soldiers in our unit that are at outlying FOBs farther up North for Intel missions. They are separated from all of us so they really loved it. I got emails from some of them on my Face Book thanking me.
On Saturday, Dec. 24th we passed out the boxes to all the people on our FOB. A few civilians from chapel came with their truck and helped us pass them out.
We put our Santa hats on, me in my elf hat riding on the back of the truck. A lot of soldiers were out on mission so we went into the living barracks and left them at the doors. In the week following we could see boxes everywhere opened to share with everyone.
We have a small building called the Free-Ex. During the day soldiers can drop off any unused items. A volunteer goes through all the boxes and puts the things on a shelf just like a little store. It’s open one hour a day for anyone to come in and take what they want for free. So nothing goes wasted! Needless to say, our store got stocked up really good this week. The cigars seemed to be the biggest hit. I don’t smoke but I had a few with the guys.
Thank you so much to your whole community for thinking of us and putting this great gift together for us. We feel thoroughly spoiled!
The chaplain and I were brainstorming in August what to do for the soldiers for Christmas and this was the answer we needed. We have only two and a half more months left and we’re so excited to get back to Hawaii and our families! I hope you enjoy the pictures and God Bless all of you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
In Jesus always,
Sgt.Lindsy N. Jones