Thursday, December 29, 2005

America Supports You (ASY) News 12/29/2005

I receive an e-mail each week that tells me of the different ways people are supporting our troops. America Supports You is a wonderful organization, and I would like to share them with you. Have a great day, and keep your heads down!

On his holiday tour of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had a special gift for members of the U.S. military stationed overseas: 5,100 pre-paid telephone calling cards worth more than $125,000. The cards were donated by Wal-Mart so deployed service members could phone home during the holidays. Secretary Rumsfeld distributed the 800-minute cards following town hall meetings and senior officers carried them to additional locations across the Middle East.

In addition to the generous calling card donation, Wal-Mart also re-launched electronic troop-messaging centers in each of its stores nationwide. Wal-Mart customers are now able to send a message of support by visiting the in-store sites, which service members will read through another America Supports You team member, Operation Dear Abby. Read more.

America Supports You member organization Operation Interdependence recently sent a giant chess set to service members recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Each piece in the 8-by-8-foot chess set is covered with hundreds of signatures and messages of support, including notes from Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and other Pentagon officials. The unique gift, donated by Mega Chess of California, is the twentieth such chess set Operation Interdependence has delivered to troops since the first was sent to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines stationed in Iraq in April. Read more.

Members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 270 of McLean, Va., wrapped over 800 Christmas presents for wounded and injured service members this holiday season. The volunteers, all wives or widows of military veterans, spent two days at wrapping "parties" for Angels of Mercy, an America Supports You team member. Angels of Mercy co-founder Jay Edwards was inspired to do something special for the holidays this year after hearing of more than 1,000 U.S. military troops stationed at Korean Village, a camp located near the Syrian border. Using donated monies, Angels of Mercy co-founder and Edwards' wife, Marian Chirichella, purchased hundreds of presents, from baby hams to a karaoke machine, to be split equally among hospitals in Iraq, Camp Korean Village, and Walter Reed.

Earlier this month, the Manhattanville My Soldier Program received a donation of $2,500 from the Westchester Cosmetology Association. Accepting for the America Supports You member organization was founder and Manhattanville student Army Staff Sgt. Juan Salas. MySoldier.com, an "adopt-a-soldier" program run by students, faculty and staff of Manhattanville college, will use the funds to further the program's reach in order to connect with more soldiers in areas of hardship. Read more about MySoldier.com.

Operation Hope, an America Supports You program run by the Beacon of Hope Outreach Center, recently announced that they have shipped over 10,000 new toys to the children of deployed service members who are not at home this holiday season. The donated toys were wrapped, packed, and shipped to military children by Beacon of Hope volunteers. The response has been so overwhelming that Operation Hope will continue their "Home for the Holidays" shipments after the holiday season until all the toys have been distributed. Operation Hope also has big plans for 2006 with additional military support projects in the works including aid to the wounded, airline tickets for returning soldiers and their families, and a television program.

America Supports You team member, America Supporting Americans (ASA), teamed with local business Next Generation Business Resources (NGBR), the Rotary and Boys and Girls Clubs of Vista, Calif., to give an early Christmas present to service members deployed overseas. On December 23, ASA launched Operation Connect, giving Marines in Iraq a live, face-to-face, Internet-based video chat with their families in the United States. Using NGBR's i-Speak web conferencing technology, family members came to local "connection stations" for a Christmas party and a ten to fifteen minute visit with their loved one. Thanks to ASA's efforts, as many as fifty Marines from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, deployed from Camp Pendleton, were able connect with home this Christmas.
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