Monday, October 19, 2009

Snowball Effect

Janet Martindale used to spend at least 45 minutes to one hour packing and repacking one "care" package to send to her son, Chris, who is stationed in Afghanistan as a Lead Corpsman. That doesn't count the time she spent collecting the items and then getting the box to the post office. But none of that mattered . . . she was doing this out of love for her son and wanting him to experience a bit of "home" while he served his tour of duty.

Well . . .

Those care packages from home became a huge hit with him. Not only for him, though, but also those around him. He wouldn't open that box up and keep everything to himself. He shared.

But one day he mentioned to his mom there were others under his lead that never received anything from home. He had already told her how conditions in Afghanistan are different than anything he has ever experienced. Socks desintegrate and rot off their feet from slogging through wet countryside, showering or bathing opportunities are few and far between, warm bottled water is the only drink of choice, and meals are the same day after day after day. It was his way of asking for plain white socks, wipes, powder to flavor the water, and treats.
So, Janet began sending a few more boxes whenever possible. But at a cost of $11.40 postage/box and the amount of money it took to purchase items to go in the box, her resources limited her desire.

Until she made an offhanded comment to our good friend, Bruce BeVier. That is where the snowball was packed and started rolling downhill.

With a flurry of e-mails, phone calls, and a network of friendships and students wanting to help, in a few short weeks, money was collected, items purchased, and yesterday, in the basement of the United Methodist Church on South Second Street, 50 boxes were assembled, taped up, labeled, stacked, and made ready for delivery to the post office at 5:30 this morning. The numbers will never be accurate of all that showed up because workers came and went, but you can be assured there were at least 50 people helping out. One person for every box going to servicemen in Afghanistan. And, oh the goodies they are receiving. It may not seem like much to us but to them, these wipes will afford them a chance to wipe off some of the dirt and grime at the end of the day.And these snacks of candy bars, gum, salty snacks, licorice, powder to add to their water, hot chocolate mix, soup mix will enhance their meals. And packed deep inside each box, they will each find 4 pairs of white socks.
And a card of thanks.
Janet Martindale, along with her husband and Chris' dad, Mike, and their two other sons, Chad and Dan (Mike and Dan shown in above picture) now know the power of a single comment, or one little snowball.
But it doesn't end with Sunday's packing party. Chad, the son not in attendance, is away at school and mentioned to his fraternity what was happening in Fowlerville. They are now packing and sending 30-40 boxes to Afghanistan. And with more items donated than could be packaged into all the individual boxes, a large container will be packed with Ziploc bags filled with goodies to share with the Aghan children.
The snowball just keeps getting bigger. But it all comes back to Chris, serving 4 years in the military, with hopes of heading to Michigan State University next fall to work toward becoming an orthodontic surgeon because in his words, he "would like to be a quality surgeon instead of a quantity surgeon." And it comes back to Janet. A mother just wanting her son to feel a little bit of "home" wherever he is in the world.


allynathome said...

Way to go Fowlerville!!!

AvaMom said...