i have started this post a dozen times. there is so much to say and i hope that those pictures say most of it. i cannot thank you all enough for making this a successful project. i have everyone involved volunteering for the positions next year. we have people buying fabric already... geri, don't fret! the stockings are yours as long as you want them. i even hear teri wants to come back next year. i know i will be there once again christmas morning.i have the excitement of a child back on christmas eve and christmas morning. it is one of the best moments all year. we get there early , we throw out the stockings, then we visit. these recruits have not visited with anyone in quite awhile. it takes them a few minutes to warm up and then it is just like being in your living room with friends and family. look at the pictures and see the smiles. other than the fact i gave them a friendly order to smile for mom!, you can see on their faces that we made a difference.
the letters are still the best part. not to put any other donation down.....but to watch them read those letters and share with their friends. they are "nasty recruits" when in bootcamp and in the letters they were reminded they were heros. they were thanked and loved by kids all over the country. it was amazing how many recruits happened to receive notes from their home town, or one close. of course i told them it was planned that way. they would look back with some wonder because we were there and that too was a magical thing. the captain was there, the di was there and we were all one big happy family. they relaxed as much as the recruits. the di made sure we knew about mrp3 and that all recruits were visited. the pictures from larny still take my breath away and i will revisit them often.
the meloney site is still as wonderful as ever. they think they get lots of hits, but they don't understand that at least 500 of those are me! i look forward to going down next week and picking up some letters to return to the children. the recruits were writing back before they finished with their stockings. funny letters like "glad you are in the navy" went right on the bulletin board. one we laughed at alot, "i hear it is hard to be in the airforce, army or navy" no mention of marines. but it got great smiles. the one chat sticks out most in my mind was from a little preschooler. the children drew pictures. she drew a large square and a small square. the caption on the bottom was "i am sending you a pillow and a blanket." how sweet is that, i am making myself cry!
in a few days i expect the scrapbook and that will bring about a whole other aspect of this project. it will be filled with wonderful letters that all stc recruits can hold throughout the year. not just those fortunate to have planned their stc stay over the holidays. it may not be the happiest holiday for them but i would betcha it will be one of the most memorable of their lives.
many hugs, happy new year, and peace to all in the crazy world. toni
click on any picture for a larger view, use your browsers "back" button to return to this page.