17 July 2009

On kindness and asking for help.

So, a couple of weeks ago Swiss mentioned that the guys he is stationed with (he is the only one from his unit, all the other guys are from another unit) are BORED. Not necessarily with work, but mostly when not at work. See, they are in a remote JSS without much for services or entertainment. Nothing to do when work isn't calling, nothing to read. He said they were sorely lacking any and all reading materials... I thought, Hey! I can fix that! So I set out to buy a ton of magazines to send the guys.

Then I realized that at around $3.95 a pop (if not more), it would take more to $100 to fill up a box, plus postage. We aren't poor, but that's a lot of loot! So I sat and stewed on this. How could I procure reading materials at little to no cost without having to run around town and beg grocery stores/bookstores/etc for their unsold wares? I was loathe to ask folks I know for help, please don't ask me why because surely I don't have a good reason. But finally I sent out the only slightly begging e-mail to some select co-workers. I asked if they had any old Dude Magazines (remember: Infantry) that they would be willing to give up, so that I could send them to Swiss and his fellow soldiers.

I was nervous about sending this e-mail. I didn't want to sound like I couldn't fix this myself. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I didn't want to sound like I, or the guys, needed pity. Lame, I know.

But happily, 6 folks (only 2 of which have actually met Swiss), brought in armloads of magazines to share... everything from Bowhunter (Swiss will LOVE these) to National Geographic to Men's Health to Outside to Sports Illustrated. I got enough to fill two flat rate (the big kind!) boxes, both of which I am sending out today with big bags of Starbursts and Twizzlers. And it made me all fuzzy and warm inside, I might have even teared up a little. I also brought in a card, thinking that perhaps the folks who donated these magazines would want to say something to the guys. Then I thought better of it, what if they thought that was lame? What if they were only doing it because they knew me and felt obligated? What if they didn't have anything to say? But again, I was so wrong. They wrote the kindest, sweetest most grateful comments. And once again, I got all warm and fuzzy inside.

I am SO glad I asked for help, because they helped me accomplish something that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. And together, we fixed a simple problem, we made life a tiny bit better for the guys over there. It feels good.

So the moral of the story is that, while we assume folks don't care because they don't talk about it or don't act as advocates/supporters of our troops, when push comes to shove... some of them do. Some of them will lug 5 pounds of magazines to work so that your husband and his co-workers have something to read. They will write kind sentiments that you never knew they felt, and they will help when you need it, as long as you are willing to ask.

That, my friends, is a wonderful thing.


Bette said...

I maintain that most people want to help, they just don't know how to help. You gave them a concrete way to show support, and they ran with it. Good for all of you!

[My verification is *biker* -- how awesome is that?]

Army Duck said...

That is really great! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside too.

indiana.girl said...

What a great story!

I've been slowly realizing that many people don't talk about the wars or the military to me out of respect. They feel certain that they don't know what they are talking about and don't want to say the wrong thing, but it's not because they don't care. This was eye opening to realize.

Post Tenebras Lux said...

This is encouraging. Thanks for sharing the story =).