Thursday, July 27, 2006

ASY: Connect and Join

There is a wonderful group of people known as America Supports You (ASY). Here are some of the things they have been doing and/or keeping us informed about:
    ASY from Coast to Coast and Across the Ocean: It's Christmas in July for two ASY team members who are teaming up early to ensure that our troops overseas will have overflowing stockings from home this December 25th. "Operation Christmas Stocking" is a collaborative effort between Operation Give and Stars for Stripes, two ASY groups who work together to support our troops throughout the year. Last year they sent more than six tons of stockings to our troops in Afghanistan, and this year they plan to ship more then twenty tons, at least 10,000 stockings, of Christmas cheer to service members deployed in Iraq. As part of the effort, FedEx has agreed to play Santa Claus and deliver all the donated stockings to Operation Give's warehouse in Utah free of charge and then on to Iraq for distribution to the troops! "If we take care of every boot on the ground, then we will start giving them to the kids," said Judy Seale, president and CEO of Stars for Stripes. "[We] cannot send too many." Paul Holton, founder of Operation Give, notes that efforts like Operation Christmas Stocking are important to the troops because it's a tangible show of support from home. Suggested items for donation include: Christmas cards and decorations, CDs/DVDs, hand sanitizer and other personal toiletry items, personal fans, socks, games, calling cards, sunglasses, non-perishable food items, disposable cameras, or toys for the troops to give to Iraqi children. Due to the time it takes for shipments to reach Iraq, the groups are starting early in order to complete the program by October 15th. For more information on how to donate stockings to Operation Christmas Stocking, or to receive free FedEx shipping information, email Read more.

    ASY team member Brain Webster of Hearts Across the Miles (HATM) recently received the Presidential Service Award in recognition of all that he and his organization do to support our troops deployed abroad. President George W. Bush met with Webster on Friday, July 21st at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colo., to present the award, thank him for his military service, and honor the support HATM provides to service members overseas. Webster acknowledged his wife Theresa for the integral role she plays in the group's work and all the volunteers who help make Hearts Across the Miles such a success. HATM sends letters and care packages to troops all around the world so that no service member serving overseas feels forgotten. Their care packages provide both practical and 'just for fun' items to lift morale and improve the quality of life for our deployed military men and women.

    Three severely wounded Army members recovering in the Washington, D.C. area were welcomed to ASY team member the Washington National's "Paint the Town Red" fan celebration last weekend. The trio of soldiers, Army Capt. Rob Taber, Staff Sgt. John Borders, and Sgt. Derek Drew, were invited to throw out ceremonial first pitches before the game, an opportunity they described as "a dream come true." All three men shared the day with their wives and loved ones. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England also joined the group on the field to honor their sacrifice and thank the Nationals for their support of the military. "The Nationals have been terrific partners of the America Supports You program," England said. "The support of the Nationals and the 35,000-plus fans was evident in a long and loud standing ovation for the heroes who threw the game's first pitch." Read more.

    The Connect and Join Memory Scrapbook Kit, pictured with an explanatory label featuring the ASY logo, will help military families preserve milestones missed by deployed loved ones.

    ASY corporate team member Connect and Join has a new offering to service members and their families to ensure that deployed service members are not left out of the milestones they miss at home. In partnership with K&Company, the group is now offering a Connect and Join Memory Scrapbook Kit to help preserve memories in the lives of military families. The kit will be available this fall at retail locations where scrapbooks are sold, and up to $5 per scrapbook sold will go to the Connect and Join Military Family Fund. This fund will provide free subscriptions to the Connect and Join Web site service for military families and help support the programs the organization provides during day camps for National Guard children. Read more.

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