“Dear Blog Community,
Welcome to the first Spirit of America (SoA) monthly update. A new outreach program designed to keep the blogger community informed of the projects that we engage in. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping our troops make a difference in the war torn countries of Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Spirit of America facilitates the donation of humanitarian supplies that our troops distribute to civilians in those strategic regions of the world. This assistance is vital towards the creation of jobs and the restoration of public services like education and medical care. Thank you to the blogger community for your support.
Spirit of America”
This Month’s Topics:
- Help us reach out to our Military
- A Special Iraqi School Project
- Quick Response to Afghan Farmers Request
- Women’s Burn Unit & Maternity
- Join our Mailing List, pass it on
For our first blogger update we would like to ask for your help in order to reach out to our military personnel serving in Spirit of America’s theatre of operations (especially in Ramadi where our forces have had some huge successes recently).
Many front line troops are not aware of the services that we provide to help them assist civilians living in those critical regions that they serve in. We can help facilitate their outreach to these civilians. Such humanitarian aid is vital to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and peace.
Quite often our military personnel have requests for goods like school and medical supplies, sewing machines, hand tools, watches, water barrels, clothing, soccer gear and toys. Since 2001 we have successfully completed many of these supply projects and urge our servicemen and women to contact us to see if we can help them make a difference.
SPECIAL IRAQI SCHOOL PROJECT
Would you say that four years is a long time? It’s a fair chunk of change, but it’s hardly an extreme amount of time unless it is spent under extreme circumstances. In the case of Staff Sergeant (SSG) Steven Gardner you can say that he has experienced more in the last four years than most people have in their entire lifetimes.
SSG Gardner has served his country in war torn Iraq since April 2003!!! For almost the entire conflict that has reshaped our times he has been deployed in many different provinces of the country. Throughout this time SSG Gardner witnessed how a brutal insurgency has victimized the Iraqi people.
In order to give the Iraqis an alternative message of hope SoA is undertaking a special project with SSG Gardner to help a local school in the northern Iraqi city of Habur Gate. This endeavor is being conducted in the true spirit of our service men and women. It is something that is not fully appreciated by the general public. Consider the fact that last year 807 schools serving 322,800 students nationwide were completed using American funding and supervised by our military forces. In addition projects like “The America-Iraq School Partners Program” and many others have been completed by SoA to bolster what our troops have accomplished. Despite all of that hard work, this new project is made special by some very unique circumstances.
While many of the military personnel that work on humanitarian relief projects with SoA are very enthusiastic about these efforts, few can say that they have been serving continuously in Iraq for so long. As much as we are concerned about how our soldiers and their families will have to endure extended tours as much as 15 months long, SSG Gardner won’t be going home to his family until 2008. That will make his tour of duty five years long!!! And as if that isn’t enough, he wants to contribute even more to the people of Iraq.
“All of this started because of what I have seen and been through. I want to leave here knowing I came, I fought and I made a difference in someone’s life here. This area is safe or reasonably so. The people are good.”
“The kids are great and the teaching staff try and make do with what they have but with funds and materials not available, they can only do so much. The school is set-up so that the kids attend from middle school through high school. The blackboards are a wreck. No fans or cooling systems in the classrooms. No computers. No sports equipment. There are no sports uniforms (they take a lot of pride in soccer). No art supplies to speak of. Basically, they need an overhaul.”
There can be no better example of the quality of our men and women serving in Iraq than SSG Gardner. SoA is proud to support such an American patriot and friend to the Iraqi people. He doesn’t ask for glory or any form of undue attention, he only desires to help those in need.
Please visit our project page to learn more.
QUICK RESPONSE TO AFGHAN FARMERS REQUEST
WOW!!! Due to your overwhelming show of support, this project is already well underway. Here is the Sergeant Major’s response when told that we had raised $13k in the first five hours:
“I didn’t expect the project to be such a big hit. I am really pleasantly surprised that the project has raised so much already!”
SoA is also working to find the zargol type of saffron which prospers in Iraq. If you have information on where these bulbs can be found or would like to donate saffron bulbs for these farmers, please send an email to us with the subject: Saffron Bulbs for Afghanistan.
The Sergeant Major says:
“The amount of heroin that is produced from this country (about 90% of total world’s production) is unbelievable. Poppy fields stretch for miles. The Taliban use poppy grown in Afghanistan to generate funding for their activities...
...This region is where saffron originally came from, before cultivation spread to Europe. Right now Afghanistan’s neighbor in the west, Iran, grows the largest quantities of saffron, that it exports globally as the world’s most expensive spice by weight...
...I think that if it were more available, saffron would be grown here in greater quantities, taking cash away from the Taliban.”
Please visit our project page to learn more.
WOMEN’S BURN UNIT & MATERNITY
After the rule of the Taliban and decades of war, Afghanistan’s healthcare system has been neglected. Equipment is in short supply and hospitals are in disrepair. Army Colonel Wendell Hickman in cooperation with attorney Melinda Lord seeks your help in improving conditions for at least one community - Herat, Afghanistan.
Nearly two-thirds of the Afghan population is without access to basic health-care facilities. Women and children are especially affected as Afghanistan has one of the word’s highest maternal and child mortality rates. Some studies estimate that an Afghan woman dies giving birth every 30 minutes. In addition, women are often burn victims either at the hands of angry relatives or self-inflicted as a protest against harsh circumstances.
The 400-bed Herat Hospital is the only non-military hospital in this entire province in Western Afghanistan. Supply needs are critical for the Burn Unit where cream, bandages and IV saline are the only solace available for patients, some of whom are tragic victims of the difficult intentional burnings.
Your support of this project will enable SoA to contribute critical supplies to the Herat Burn Center, Gozahra Clinic and similiar facilities throughout Western Afghanistan. In addition to the items listed above which SoA will provide with your help, we will partner with Orchard International in shipping an ocean container of supplies donated specifically for Herat Hospital including incubators, baby warmers, and vitamins.
A very sparse Delivery Room in Herat
You can visit our project page to learn more.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO JOIN OUR MAILING LIST
Our recent drive for signups to our mailing list only netted about 65 new subscribers. We are hoping that by reaching out to bloggers that we jump start this effort. There’s no risk to pass it on to family and friends, we never share your email address. It’s also very easy for you, at any time, to unsubscribe on our site.
Bloggers please contact us if you wish to publish these monthly updates on your blog or volunteer your time in any way. We are looking for a volunteer Web Technology Director, volunteer Administrative staff and volunteer writers. If you would like to post this article on your blog please contact us by clicking on the email link below. We will email you the text and html so you can just copy it into a new post on your blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read our project update. The War on Terror is beginning to pick up steam and our country has finally been able to get out the word due to the contributions of the blogger community. Bloggers like Michael Yon, Bill Roggio and Michael Totten are bringing America’s side of the story directly to the people. In the past when we won important victories like the capture of Saddam Hussein, the conclusion of successful elections, the recapture of Fallujah and many others - the significance was lost on the general public because of the lack of awareness about what is really going on.
That ignorance has led some Americans to remain unaware that our troops do more than just kill the enemy. They spend much of their time building relationships with Iraqi communities, assisting them to defend themselves, coordinating reconstruction projects and distributing humanitarian aid.
Now that we have found our voice it is time to step up our efforts. The blogger community has done a great job so lets keep up the good work. We have a long way to go.
All the best,
The Spirit of America Team