I was in the Army for 8 years, 11 months, and 27 days. During this time, I deployed to Iraq twice with the 4th Infantry Division Band. The second time, I made use of a couple of the "adopt a soldier" type websites. Soldiers would sign up and kind, generous, all around awesome civilians back home would find troops to adopt and send care packages to. The benefits for morale were astounding. I, for one, was truly humbled that people back home would want to do such a thing for us while we were over there.
One such person who made a contribution was my friend J. She has supported several troops, and continues to do so to this day. She sent several care packages a month, some for me, and some to share with my squad members. I got really popular on the days that a package would arrive from her. (I mean, I was popular anyways; I'm charming, ridiculously good-looking, and talented. And humble.) She also sent gifts home to my kids and their mom. Her generosity was just staggering.
Today, I finally was privileged to meet J face to face. She is on a trip to meet several of the families she has supported, and I was her first stop. She asked if she could take me, my kids, and their mom out to dinner. Of course. We'd love to.
Today, we all braved some crazy desert monsoon storms to meet one of the kindest, most caring, most loving people I know of. Someone who flew across the country to say thank you, again. It's an amazing blessing to know that people like her, like so many of you who give so much to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen.
Thank you J. For the encouragement, and for reminding me that those two years meant something, when I don't always remember.