“I am writing to you from Hamid Kobzar International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. I found one of your letters in a box tonight while I was searching for some Kleenex and chop stick. It was a poem titled ‘Soldier Son’, and I really needed to hear its message tonight. I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for what you do and to let you know that you are not sending letters into the abyss. We do get them and in the times that matter, it means the whole world that someone out there is thinking of you.”
This is the beginning of a letter received by Carla Reed, President of Coastal Bend Troop Support, Inc. (CBTS). The volunteers with this 501c3 nonprofit organization have been sending care boxes each month to service members serving overseas since 2010. Handwritten letters are included in the boxes.
Ricardo continues saying he is from Corpus Christi and an alumnus of Moody High School, Del Mar and Texas A &M Corpus Christi. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 2000 and has served as a helicopter pilot for 17 years bouncing between California, Florida, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I hope you and your families made it through the Hurricane in one piece, & I will pray that your lives and homes are back in one piece as soon as possible. I cannot imagine that much destruction, or disruption, & I hope you take comfort in knowing that I am thinking about you and sending positive energy.”
August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey interrupted the flow of boxes and outreach services to area veterans. CBTS officers and volunteers all live in the area devastated by the hurricane. They have been immersed in salvaging personal and CBTS property, clearing downed trees, arranging for repairs of or locating new residences and dealing with FEMA, insurance adjusters and contractors. After two months they are now preparing a new facility in a new location so the boxes filled with hygiene products, snacks, stationary and letters from home will start going overseas again.
The Coastal Bend Troop Supply’s new home will be located at 832 Henderson Street, Rockport.
At this time, the facility is vacant except for a desk, computer, partitions, and containers of supplies. President Reed said the organization will be preparing the care packages and offer evening peer to peer group meetings for veterans from this new location. Moving, reorganizing and beginning anew is taking time.
Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Commander Richard Bell and Executive Officer Jack Nyitrai visited the Henderson Street location and the Chapter members have chosen to assist the regular volunteers by painting, moving salvaged objects from the water damaged Market Street building and helping add a counter with a sink. Other new volunteers are stepping up to help organize the supplies so boxes can be filled. New donations are coming in.
“Again, I just wanted to say thank you. I am feeling a lot over the last few days and the single fact that someone out there, who does not have to spend a second thinking about us, took the time to send their love meant a lot.”
“I will be alright, just having a bad day. As long as I have a family behind me and an enemy in front of me, I can always keep moving forward. God bless.”
Thank you letters like this are the priceless rewards which keep the volunteers motivated to raise the funds to fill more boxes and write more letters to remind troops serving in combat they are not forgotten.
One box with one letter touched one helicopter pilot. Who will the next one reach?
For further information about this nonprofit, see blog posts:
Letting Troops Know We Care, July 14, 2017
Creating Survivors – One at a Time, July 26, 2017
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