I wanted to share this letter I wrote for the Treasury newsletter. Not so much for the letter part, unless you're a co-worker of mine reading this, but to know how wonderful, thoughtful, and generous people can be. I did a donation drive to send things over to the Old Man and his company and am so completely touched by the response I received, there are barely words to explain...
To my fellow FMS employees,
Two-hundred Marines in the 1st Battalion 6 Marines (1/6) will be getting an extra surprise this Christmas. As you know, myself and FMS’ Diversity Council sponsored Operation 1/6 Holiday; a donation drive to collect items for the Marines stationed in Ramadi, Iraq for a seven month deployment scheduled during the holidays.
In the short 3 weeks designated for collection, hundreds of donations were received enabling volunteers to put together over 200 individual care packages containing food, hygiene products, toys, and holiday items. The San Francisco Financial center, with the help of Judith Stewart, was able to send over 6 large boxes for the Marines to enjoy as well! Judith, your efforts are extremely appreciated.
I want to share with you a wonderful story about the events as the drive came to a close. As three co-workers of mine were organizing the donations for packaging, it looked like it was going to be quite a task. We had filled the oversized bookshelves in an entire storage room and as the three of us looked at the items then at each other- we knew we would need help. Being a Friday, we all know that FMS employees are hard to come by, but I sent out a quick call for volunteers and about 15 people arrived! We put on some music and developed a system and an hour and a half later, we had packed 175 care packages!
I was overwhelmed by the response I had received on Friday, but the good deeds for Operation 1/6 Holiday continued. Knowing the number of packages we were able to put together and that there are slightly over 200 Marines in Headquarters & Services Company (H&S), an anonymous donation was left on my desk to close the gap and ensure every Marine in 1/6 H&S received a gift for the holidays! I am still not able to figure out where the gifts came from, but I am touched by his/her thoughtfulness…
As if these great acts of kindness were not enough, Joyce Catlett, Mail Operations Supervisor, graciously offered to package everything for shipment that Tuesday afternoon. Her time and effort in doing so- was wonderful and I am extremely grateful. Joyce, along with FMS’ Blacks in Government (BIG), made a substantial donation to pay the shipping fees and with that, all 17 packages were shipped out for delivery. Thank you, BIG members, for your support and generosity.
To each of you whose efforts were mentioned above, as well as those of you who donated items that helped make Operation 1/6 a success, thank you! My husband and his squad agreed to play 'Santa' this year and when they received all 21 boxes, they were excited to see they had their work cut out for them! The turnout and support from FMS was incredible!
I heard that there were a few Marines who have yet to receive any packages or letters since they've been overseas. (Almost 3 months now.) To lift their spirits, I took the remaining items from the drive and personally mailed over individual packages to make sure they each have something to open for the holidays. Again, thanks to FMS employee's those Marines will surely know we are thinking and praying for them.
Hearing everyone's stories of support, personal affinity, and concern has touched my heart. Thank you for your phone calls and emails. I have passed your inspiration and gratitude to the Marines and their families in many ways. Whether you helped by donating items, looking for boxes, helping me write those pesky global emails, filling out forms, packaging, or networking to call for volunteers- and not to forget, giving me permission and time away from my day to day duties to put this together, each of you has done something wonderful to help lift the spirits of our Marines overseas. It is so important that they know they have our support so they can focus on keeping us safe at home and we've helped to do just that!
If you want to hear updates on my husband and the 1/6 Marines or if you would like to find out more ways that you can help support our men and women overseas, please visit the website I made for my husband and our families. I update it regularly with news articles, support links, prayers, and photos of my old man. It can be a nice pick me up if you have a loved one serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Former President Ronald Reagan said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” Thanks to the successful Operation 1/6 Holiday drive, FMS employees can now say the same.