How Mama Bear gets through the wall…

February 26, 2009 · Filed Under Deployment, One Army Mama Bear · 1 Comment 

join USO –  help other troops and their families as they travel … it’s a process so go ahead and get started  … you have to apply, interview, be accepted, get fingerprinted, have training, and then you’re ready to hit the USO. On a recent day, on the early shift there were twenty or so soldiers in the tiny USO sleeping when I arrived a little before 7:00 am … the recliners were full and a few were sleeping on the floor … all they want is a safe place where they can close their eyes. They came in all hours of the night … midnight, 4:00 am, and they poured in all morning. This shift is usually the one that is free to do cleaning … only the kitchen and the office area got cleaned on Tuesday… while the troops slept. Then we made sandwiches, coffee, bagels with cream cheese, bowls of cereal, even Ramen noodles, whatever they wanted that we had. We handed out soft drinks and snacks, cupcakes and pastry. These guys and gals are always hungry, but rarely do they ask for anything. WE have to ask them.

They’re coming from all over – going back to their bases – mainly Marine and Army, but also Navy, Air Force, National Guard.  They talked about their families and they talked about their upcoming deployments. They always seem surprised that we’re so happy to serve THEM and they respond with “Yes, M’am” or “Thank you, M’am” … always so polite … that sir or m’am. We greet them, feed them, make them comfortable and find them rides. Sometimes the base is sending a bus … most likely they have to find their own way there … the airport information desk will make announcements that there’s a soldier needing a ride to Fort Bragg or a Marine needing a ride to Lejune or Johnson. Some of them have rides coming and can take more guys. They like to eat, sleep, play video games, watch movies, get online, and sometimes talk. It’s all free …

I think of my son when I see these troops and am paying it forward for groups like Maine Troopers who greeted our guys and hosted them so well in Bangor, Maine when they were deploying. Thank you, Maine Troopers!  I’m very proud that the RDU USO has a strong committment to be open 24/7 for our traveling military. Lots of them – especially the younger guys need a place to sleep/rest between flights – lots of times that’s overnight – or MANY hours! We’re a meeting place for military families traveling  – connecting with wives/husbands/children – so they can travel together to their destination. USO is one way to  deal with ‘the wall’ … serving those who SERVE for us … there are more .


Hitting the Wall

February 19, 2009 · Filed Under Deployment, LAW, Military Parents, National Guard Parents · Comment 

You hit the wall… it’s just too much and it’s never going to end. The tension, the stress – it’s all too much right now… you just yelled at your sister, your best friend is fed up with listening to you, and your spouse has decided to take a long walk every night after dinner. You sit and obsessively watch the news and pace the floor, or you refuse to have a radio or TV on at all… What is this mess??? Welcome to the wall- the deployment wall. We all hit it – the days drag by and you really cannot figure out why you are so unhappy all the time, the calendar stubbornly refuses to turn over, the clock MUST have stopped…

Yes, the funk has hit. Now, you can, if you want, sit around in your ratty sweats or  bathrobe all day; drag yourself to work and make yourself the most unpopular person in the building when you snap the head off the poor receptionist; obsess over the lack of  email, or the missed phone call – OR- you can get off your butt and do something…

In my case – I did all of the above!  and when I was sitting in my nest of papers/books on the couch in front of the TV – I realized this was just not healthy.  That conclusion was bolstered when I got out of the sweats and tried on real clothes – hmmm. all that food, no exercise – bad news on the scale.  So – giving myself a really good metaphorical butt kicking, I got to doing!  A friend and I decided that we’d get a project moving – and what a doozy it was.  She got a printer friend to print up some Thanksgiving greeting cards that could be colored – and then we started calling and emailing local teachers at elementary schools.  We sent the blanks out and the kids colored, wrote letters etc.  over 3,000 cards!  when we got them back, they were mailed to the various chaplains attached to our unit and handed out at their Thanksgiving festivities.

We were told that the troops really loved them, gave them a good chuckle.  So – if you are in the Funk – St. Patrick’s day is coming up!  know a troop who could use a laugh?  know a local elementary school?  Well – there ya go!

Tell us how YOU got over hitting the wall —–