I asked Nancy Sutherland, sales director of Mary Kay, to write a guest post describing an important project that she is promoting. (She has her own blog at http://nancymkqueen.wordpress.com.)
Imagine it's hot, sandy with a nice breeze but you're not at the beach AND you are wearing up to 100 pounds of gear! You're an American soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan! Today is pretty much like yesterday except you are one day closer to coming home to your family.
It's the end of the day and your most anticipated activity is a nice shower and mail call. Your hands are weather-beaten, dry and chapped. Yet there’s hope for your hands thanks to Operation Soldier Care.
Our troops frequently get care packages for birthdays and holidays, but what about “just because” we appreciate them now?
What is Operation Soldier Care? How did it come about?
I’ll start by giving you an inside look of who these soldiers are who will be the recipients of this campaign and why you want to be part of it.
The U.S. has a total volunteer military so everyone who is serving our country willingly signed up to do so. Some of them are true patriots that come from a family with generations of military service going all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
Many of them are young men and women who come from a large family, small town, low income or other backgrounds that would not offer college as an option. (Enlisting for three to four years can give soldiers a chance for a better life afterwards with a college education.) There are also doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and many other professionals who are reservists called up for active duty.
My husband Alex retired from the army in 2003 as a major. That has given me an inside look as to what it is like to serve overseas. Alex celebrated his 40th birthday unceremoniously in Bosnia. I put together a care package for him that I had worked on for a month, selecting just the right things that he might enjoy. And as a Mary Kay sales director, I also assemble gifts for many of my clients to send to their loved ones overseas.
At first I thought that providing sunscreens for the troops would be my best option. But as I got creative in adding other personal care items such as body lotions, shower gels, hand creams, shaving cream and other hydrating skin products, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Here is one of my responses:
“Great idea! Having been a U.S. Army soldier in Kuwait and in Iraq, personal hygiene items and toiletries are such a luxury. To receive a Mary Kay care package would have been a DREAM for me! I highly recommend this because it is really something useful and much appreciated – even for male soldiers – a HUGE morale booster. When I sent my husband who was deployed in the Middle East special items for his skin, he was in heaven and so so happy!!”
So Operation Soldier Care was created. I teamed up with eMail Our Military (www.emailourmilitary.com) for this project because eMOM already had the systems in place to promote this and distribute the gifts. I am matching each donation 100% so your generosity will be maximized!