Please help some people who are making a difference.
[I redate this frequently to keep it near the top of my blog. That doesn't mean there isn't anything new to be seen. Please keep scrolling if you've seen this before.]
I've been so busy lately ranting about John Kerry's increasingly obvious character flaws that I haven't taken time for something else that I should have done the day I started blogging. I am not one of those people who'll try to tell you that 9/11 was our fault, or that if we'd just behaved differently in the past the War on Terror wouldn't be necessary. On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in helping those less fortunate, and I'm very much in favor of doing whatever can be done to keep the War on Terror from dragging on needlessly. I'm very much in favor, therefore, of helping some people I know are doing things that will make a difference, a difference that will echo on for generations. Let me tell you more about some of them.
Chief Wiggles is a Chief Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard and recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. While he was there, he was struck by the fact that small things that would seem trivial to many of us, a stuffed monkey, a ball, a pad of paper and a pencil, ..., could put a huge smile on the face of a child who'd never known such "luxuries". Having realized that, he started Operation Give, a charitable operation which has already provided toys and school supplies to thousands of Iraqi children and needs our help to be able to keep on giving. Please visit Operation Give's web site for information on how you can help.
Sgt Hook has been in the Army for 17 years and is "thinking of making it a career." He's currently serving with a transport helicopter group in Afghanistan. Senior enough that he wouldn't have to fly any more, he still does when he can, out of love for his job and his Soldiers. Please click here for a poignant reminder that flying Afghanistan is still not without it's risks. Aware of the good Operation Give is doing in Iraq, and of the extreme poverty he and his "crewdogs" witness every day, Sgt Hook launched Operation Shoe Fly. Those shoes your youngster outgrew long before they wore out, or quit wearing because the styles changed, can still make a huge difference in someone else's life. If you can afford an extra pair (or several) the next time you're out shopping, that's even better. Please click here for more information.
Spirit of America was founded by Jim Hake, a Los Angeles businessman inspired by the story of how Special Forces Sergeant Jay Smith and his team had improved the lives of the people in a village in eastern Afghanistan, and how their kindness had been repaid with help that may have literally saved their lives. Thanks to Mr. Hake's business expertise, Spirit of America has grown rapidly, and now makes significant contributions to the quality of life of people throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. They have provided the people of both countries with everything from frisbees, soccer balls and back-to-school kits to water barrels, sewing machines and carpentry tools. Like Operation Give and Operation Shoe Fly, Spirit of America is a nonprofit operation that depends on donations from the public to be able to keep on giving. Please click here to learn more.
A message to my fellow bloggers: I'm going to be making an effort to get some of you to help me spread the word about all three of these worthy organizations. You are hereby granted permission to copy any portion of this post, with or without attribution or a link to my blog. If you'd like to send me some traffic that would be great, but mainly just please help me spread the word. I know some of you have blogged about these organizations in the past -- If you hadn't I might not know about them. It seems to me lately, though, that maybe "the new has worn off." The need these guys are trying to fill still exists. Let's all do our part.
I'm wondering whether there'd be enough interest to get some sort of Wictory Wednesday type of thing going to help out Chief Wiggles, Sgt Hook, and SOA. I'd be glad to handle the email and blogrolling involved. First I'd need someone to help out with a catchy name. "Hearts and Minds Friday"? ... Nah. Can somebody help me there? Can someone with some Photoshop ability help with an appropriate button?
Update 18-8-2004: I just changed Chief Wiggles' title based on email from him.
Update 25-8-2004: I just changed "numerous" to "thousands of" after receiving email from Chief Wiggles. I'm redating the post to give it more exposure. Originally posted 16-8-2004 22:39
Update 31-8-2004: I'm redating this to take advantage of the significant traffic surge I'm seeing after Greyhawk said nice things about me.
Update 14-9-2004: Redating, no changes.