Along with my buddy John Nelson (uncle to SGT Jeffrey Nelson now in Afghanistan) I had the opportunity to participate in a pack out organized by the Pleasanton Military Families organization, held at our Pleasanton Veterans Memorial Hall today. Talk about organized! These people have it together and I cannot praise them enough for what they are doing for our active military men and women. It was one of the best days of my life! This loving and down to earth group has been supporting our military and their loved ones since 2003.
What you ask is a Pack Out? It is a time to fill care packages to send overseas to deployed military men and women. So much work was done ahead of time so that the volunteers only have to show up and start filling boxes! Very smart.
The room was set up so that empty boxes with recipient names were stacked up front on the stage. The rest of the Veterans Memorial Hall was arranged with rows of items to be piled into the boxes and then shipped off. Each service person was to receive 6 boxes!!! Each volunteer went up to claim a box and start filling it with goodies galore…fill but not overstuffed was our command. I felt like I was a kid at a candy store who got to give all the wonderful stuff away for someone incredibly special.
The total number of boxes packed was 22x6 + 40 = 172 boxes filled with an incredible variety of things….peanut butter, almond butter, magazines, books, tuna, Vienna sausages, personal items, socks, tee shirts, red vines, gatorade bottles filled with goodies, sunflower seeds, water guns with balloons and so on and so on.
In addition to our 22 local soldiers, today we had 40 extra boxes to be filled for Special Ops the PMF wanted to support after learning they had lost 2 of their own in Afghanistan.
Individuals and businesses from all over the community donated items…Safeway, Pepsi, Pleasanton Farmers Market, Lyons, so many I can't remember.
But Pat Frizzel, the co chair of PMF…well I have to say, she is one awesome lady and the mom of a US Marine. She took the mic and directed the volunteers about the plan of filling boxes and what to do after the boxes were packed…all new to me so I really appreciated the guidance. But best of all, she read a prayer before we started. It so touched my heart, I asked her to email it to me.
PRAYER BEFORE PACKOUT
Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to gather together as one big family to show support for the brave military of this country far away from us today. Guide our hearts and hands as we fill these boxes with care and comfort from home. We pray our troops will feel our love and support as they open each box.
We ask you hold your military sons and daughters close to your heart. Protect them there and be with us here when we celebrate their return.
Until they all come home, we will all stand strong.