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Volunteers examples offer much to be thankful for
Notes from an almost-military wife
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With the leafs changing colors and cooler weather, Mother Nature lets us know that the Thanksgiving season is here.
I’ve been trying to decide what exactly I should be thankful for this year. I do, of course, have many blessings in my life: I’m engaged to a wonderful man, I have lots of supportive friends and relatives, and a satisfying career as a writer; not to mention a warm bed, a bit of cash in the bank, and plenty to eat.
But, I wanted to think outside of my experience and find something that we military spouses could be grateful for on a larger scale. For those of us whose significant other is away on deployment or other mission, the holidays can be lonely, and it can be hard to focus on the positive. That’s why I’d like to share the stories of several people:
Take Dr. Lyndsay McCaslin, a dentist in New Port Richey, Fla., who created “Treats for the Troops” to collect and send leftover Halloween candy to troops overseas. Though a dentist may seem an unlikely sponsor for a candy collection program, Dr. McCaslin said she understands how important it is to be “spoiled” while serving overseas, according to an article in The Suncoast News. And, of course, her care packages will also include toothbrushes. Dr. McCaslin said she hopes to get the candy to troops by Thanksgiving.
Then there’s Lila Scalwy. At 87, she’s part of a small army of coupon clipping ladies in Greenbelt, Md. In 2001, Scalwy’s husband, a veteran, died shortly before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She was searching for a way to deal with the aftermath of both traumatic events when she learned about the coupon ladies. They’re elderly women who meet weekly at an American Legion post to clip and sort coupons to send to military families abroad. According to the Washington Post, the coupons are honored up to 6 months past expiration at overseas bases, where officials distribute them to spouses and children of troops who sometimes struggle to make ends meet.
And last, the Begquist kids, teens Brittany and Robbie, of Norwell, Mass. They founded Cell Phones for Soldiers in 2004 after hearing about a soldier’s $7,600 cell phone bill for calls from Iraq. Their charity collects unwanted cell phones, sells them to a recycler, and uses the money to buy pre-paid calling cards for troops overseas, according to a USA Today article. And, today, they’ve donated more than 500,000 calling cards, according to their website,
All of these wonderful volunteers are living examples of what it means to give back to the community. Without people like them, the holiday season would not be as bright for our troops and their families. Their caring and dedication prove that a single person can make a difference. And that’s something we should all be thankful for.
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