Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Giving the troops a hand
Beef stick donations hitch a ride to Middle East on KC-135 tanker.
It’s a common sight in air travel these days to see U.S. military personnel traveling on commercial planes. In a trip I made from Atlanta to Milwaukee last week, there were about a half dozen young soldiers on the flight. Dressed in their battle uniforms, they were conspicuously mixed in with another group—college students returning from a conference in Atlanta. The college kids were having fun. The soldiers were quiet.
As the plane touched down in Milwaukee, the flight attendant invited a round of applause for the soldiers. There was a loud, long response from the civilians—an unrehearsed patriotic moment.
I recalled that in the same week two aggie acquaintances had talked with me about projects they were involved with to support the troops.
Den Gardner, director of the American Agricultural Editors Association, has helped spearhead a program called Project EverGreen, which provides free lawn and landscape service to military families with members serving overseas. The effort has helped 7,700 military families through a national network of 2,100 volunteers, Den says.
A new phase of the program will fund scholarships for military family members. Gardner's group is making a push to raise contributions from now until Armed Forces Day on May 16. If you’re interested in donating to the program, check out this link for more info:
In another effort, a farm couple from western Iowa, Ted and Dee Ann Paulsrud, have been managing a program to send beef sticks to the troops serving in the Middle East. The Iowa Beef Sticks for the Troops has gathered enough donations to send some 60,000 of the treats overseas.
About half of the cost of the effort is in transportation, Ted says. But, that cost is being defrayed through cooperation of a statewide grocery chain and the 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City, Iowa. Once the Paulsruds collect enough money to buy a pickup load of beef sticks, they have them hauled by the grocery to the Air Guard unit to be loaded on a tanker headed to the Middle East.
If you’re interesting in contributing to the beef stick campaign, contact: Ted and Dee Ann Paulsrud, 4980 320th St., Danbury, Iowa 51019, or phone (712) 883-2249.
Both of these programs have gotten a good response from their beneficiaries, their organizers say. The Paulsruds recently received a U.S. flag and note of thanks from the Air Force officers attached to the 185th.
Lawn care, scholarships, and beef sticks may not win a battle or bring peace to the Middle East, but these are heart-felt efforts to support the troops and families at a grassroots level.
Contributing a little something to them seems like another way to give our soldiers a rousing round of applause.
Posted by John Walter at 6:22 PM