Operation Gratitude

Re-posted from the Alpha Patriot (also on Little Green Footballs)

Carolyn Blashek got married in June last year, and by September her husband had been called up and sent overseas. She volunteered to work at the USO and one day an Army officer walked in looking for a chaplain. One wasn't around, so he asked if he could talk to Carolyn. He'd come home on emergency leave for his mother's funeral and was on his way back to his post in Korea.

Things were heating up in North Korea with the nuclear threat, he said, and he didn't know if he'd make it back this way again. It wouldn't matter anyway, though, he said.

"His mother had just died, and his wife had left him years ago," Carolyn said. "He said he didn't have any other relatives. Then he just broke down and started crying for a few minutes. It was so sad.

"After he left, I thought how many other servicemen and women have nobody."

And so Operation Gratitude was born. Carolyn runs this out of her house, sending care packages with toiletries, snacks, games, movies and personal letters of support to men and women stationed overseas that have been identified by their officers or chaplains as those who don't get much in the way of mail from back home.

Two things makes this program different from the others. First, it targets those who most need the moral boost - those that may not have anyone back home providing emotional support. Second, the personal touch that Carolyn gives by including a letter to the recipient.

Oh, and third - Carolyn runs the whole outfit - assembling, packaging, mailing - out of her home.

She has sent over 650 packages to date, and is ramping up for a special holiday mailing of some 2,000 packages that is going to require tens of thousands of dollars just to cover postage (each Holiday Care Package will require $15 in postage).

The is a worthwhile project. For those who cannot afford to give money (although it is tax-deductible), you can still help by writing a letter or two to be included in the packages.

If you don't think that this is worth doing, here is a letter from a grateful package recipient:

Dear Carolyn Blashek,
I received your care package today and it caught me by surprise because I was not expecting it. As I opened it tears almost came to my eyes because we are here in a strange country with a need of alot of morale support and here you are sending me this package full of good things. I can't thank you enough. It meant alot to me and you can bet that I will spread the word throughout the soldiers in Kuwait and Iraq. It makes me proud to be a soldier and fight for the freedom of people like you. May God Bless you always.

I'm here with my unit of transportation from Puerto Rico. "Muchas Gracias";

SGT P. R., USA, Personnel Sergeant

I'm posting a graphic link to Operation Gratitude. Please encourage your friends and family to participate. And for the Angelenos, they're having an event in Van Nuys the first weekend in November.

Un-Doing the Jerrymander

No whining should be allowed in California about the Reappo proposal from Ted Costa, Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes. They aren't suggesting a system where one side cheats the rules in order to give their team the advantage, they're suggesting a game with a neutral playing field.

The reapportionment and redistricting initiative, planned for the November 2004 ballot, is drawing lots of fire from the left. here and here and here. When is it going to catch on with the right (and the middle who are the biggest beneficiaries of all)?