RED Friday

While I wish we could keep most of our RED Friday posts light and encouraging, sometimes there’s not a whole lot encouraging for our deployed troops, especially when officially the “war on terror” ended yet too many of our best are still being killed or injured.

This past week 3 more US Service members gave their all for freedom and the hopes of Afghani people to be able to take on their own nation’s defense.  The Taliban claimed responsibility in the Tuesday deaths of 2 Special Forces soldiers and a USAF Special Tactics airman when their vehicle hit an IED in Ghazni Province, south west of Kabul.

Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39 were a part of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin, 25, was part of 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

While I hate the tally count style the media has ‘enjoyed’ in the past while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their height, I also hate the way too many people are either unaware, or don’t pay attention to the fact that we still have personnel on the front lines all around the globe, and we still have many sacrificing their lives for the rest of us.

As of now, the last of November, 2018, 12 American soldiers have died in combat in along with four other coalition soldiers. That’s just Afghanistan.

You can read more about those who have died this year here.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these brave individuals, and to all their teams and brothers.  God bless, comfort and give peace to all of those who carry on no matter the cost.  Be with them and watch over them all, wherever they are.

On a lighter note, kind of, this time of year folks sometimes wonder about sending packages, cards or something small to our troops who are deployed or stationed overseas at Christmas time.  Since it’s the end of November, unfortunately for most overseas letters, cards or packages, it’s too late to get to our troops for Christmas, as most organizations start their Holiday campaigns by September. But, our troops, first responders, Veterans and new recruits fresh out of boot camp appreciate mail all year long.

For more information on how to write or send a card or package, the best places to start are here:

RED CROSS- If you choose to send your cards to Holidays for Heroes, contact the local Red Cross. There is no national national PO box to send to anymore, and where you send depends on location. This is also one of the few organizations that allows envelopes, however, they must be sealed. Otherwise, you should not send letters with envelopes. They also ask that people don’t put any contact information on the envelope or in the card.

Holidays for Heroes also specified a cut-off date for holiday cards last year. It could be predicted that it will be around December 8th because that was the date last year. However, for more updates and to find where you send your cards look at the American Red Cross website.

Soldier’s Angels is a great organization that I learned about years ago during my twitter ‘mission’.  This organization doesn’t take cards, letters etc., but they do have some amazing volunteer opportunities, and different ways to ‘serve’ those who serve. Check it out, you never know how you can be an Angel!

Operation Gratitude is an organization which allows folks to write letters or send cards all year round to deployed troops, Veterans, first responders and new recruits.

A Million Thanks allows Americans from all over are able to write cards, letters, and even email soldiers. When addressing the letters, they must be generally addressed. However, you can send multiple letters. They also let you include your address if you want to potentially to hear back from whoever you write to (although many times it’s not always possible to get a reply back. It’s awesome when you do, but try not to be disappointed if you don’t). Check this great organization out here. 

Finally one can’t go wrong with the USO.  While they don’t have a letter/card writing program, they still do so much for our troops around the world. This page will show you how you can help give our troops gifts all year round of a little bit of ‘home’ or relaxing time while deployed or stationed overseas.

To all our troops and Veterans, we are so incredibly grateful for all you do, and will always keep you in our prayers.

As we get closer to Christmas, more folks miss their loved ones and friends who are gone again, and those who are gone try not to think too much about things we take for granted here during the season and those they miss the most.

God bless all.  Have a blessed and safe RED Friday.