Meadville Tribune

January 21, 2014

There's always a way to pay it forward and Support Our Troops

By Kim Lengling
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — It has been a while since I wrote. With so many things going on in life, it seems immediate priorities overtake other areas, doesn’t it?

I started thinking about all of the things that happen as we go through our daily lives — the joys and the sorrows that at times seem to go hand in hand — and I realized that it is the same for our troops and their families.

Last month we had our Christmas packing for our troops. As always, it was crazy, chaotic and wonderful. We had many new folks come this year to help and we hope to see them at our future monthly packings.

Each month prior to packing the boxes, we gather round for prayer, each of us with our own different stories, heartaches, sickness and sadness. You never know what may be going on in the person’s life who you are holding hands with in prayer.

This was on my mind as we prayed and asked for God’s grace to continue our mission of sending care packages to our troops, to watch over and protect our troops and to guide each of us there that evening.

Project Support Our Troops, as I have said many times before, is so much more than sending care packages each month.

Do you think about the wife of a deployed soldier as she struggles with not only the absence of her loved one, but with daily life — keeping everything together, keeping the kids on track, the house in order and countless other daily things?

On the other side, do you think about the soldier who is so far from home? You may have been in this position at one time — the thoughts that go through your head, the worry, the trying not to worry so that you can focus on the mission at hand.

These are things that we at Post 52 of the Veterans Welcome Home Association and Project Support Our Troops think of daily, simply because many members of our Post have been there.

I wanted to share a few words from our troops that we have heard from since our last packing, to give you a small glimpse of how important our mission on this side of the pond is. Here are some of the things they’ve shared with us in their own words:

“I cannot thank you, your students and everyone else enough for giving their support and time to put packages together for our military troops and myself. Trust me when I say they are greatly appreciated, especially during the holidays when we are away from our friends, family and loved ones. Additionally, some of the troops out here have little to no family support, and watching the expressions on their face when they receive packages from folks like you and/or organizations, it’s truly a joyful moment. To top that off, the reading of the cards and letters of so many that have taken that extra time ... it’s an overwhelming feeling that is hard to describe ... thank you all from Afghanistan!”

“Just wanted to let you know that your package made it safe and sound. Thanks so much for the goodies and support. Big ups to you from everyone here in Afghanistan!”

“I am currently with the 101st Airborne Air Assault and we are currently in Afghanistan and have received a parcel from you all. I was just handed this box from a Major I know and said ‘here, share this with the rest of the team,’ so I did but I am writing you to thank you for all you have done for us. It is hard to express how much we enjoy receiving things from everyone and it does brighten our days.”

When we receive emails and letters from our troops, it solidifies our mission. It is what keeps us going.

Whether there are things going on in our own daily lives, there is always a way to throw something positive out there, to pay it forward. That is why we continue with Project Support Our Troops. We hope that you continue to support this journey and even be a part of it with us.

May God bless America and those who defend her.

Kim Lengling is co-chair of Project Support Our Troops and can be reached at 724-9099 or through Facebook at Project Support Our Troops.

You can help

Project Support Our Troops packs boxes to send to troops stationed overseas on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Post 52 of the Veterans Welcome Home Association on Dunham Road.

The Post sponsors soup luncheons with proceeds to benefit Project Support Our Troops. Dates are Friday, and Feb. 7 and 21, and March 7 and 21. Soup and rolls and beverage are served for a donation of $6. Serving is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Takeouts are available.