Soldiers' Angels, the Bob Hope-inspired "Spirit of Hope" award recipient (soldiersangels.org), will be having its second annual "A Night For Our Heroes" fundraiser at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn, 714 Lakeway Drive.
What will this event mean to our heroes?
This from a deployed soldier who received a Soldiers' Angel care package:
"When I get a box (or anyone else gets a box) it's hard to describe. ...
"Once inside, you go through it, every little item once, twice, sometimes three times ...
"You breathe it in and you think of the person who sent it to you. You think of home, family, cars, summer - everything all at once. And for a very short time, you are there, away from (here). You are grateful. Then you look around and there's always a buddy who is down or having a bad day. You share your box - sometimes with the one guy, sometimes with everyone - and it's electric. Everyone catches that feeling and we start talking about home, about things we miss, things we are going to do when we get back, and the heaviness of the day lifts and it's not so bad.'"
And this from a recovering wounded warrior:
His voice was hardly a whisper. The cadence slow and deliberate in part due to his traumatic brain injury and in part because of the weight of his words. The young wounded warrior's eyes took in the display and his hands came to rest on a blanket as he stepped outside of the Soldiers' Angels sponsored PTSD workshop for a "breather."
"You just have no idea what that blanket means to someone." He went on to share how he was laying in his hospital bed contemplating how he was going to end his life when a Soldiers' Angel came in with one of the very blankets sitting on the table. "It's more than just a blanket ... it's a moment. It becomes one moment building upon another. I don't know really how to explain it but all of a sudden I found myself wanting to live and wanting more of those moments."
Julie Morelli is the Soldiers' Angels VA Washington leader:
"It's hard to describe what it was like to hear what that brave young warrior had to share that day, but when he looked up to smile at the end, it was a moment for me I'll never forget.
"I have heard many similar stories from the battlefield, to the home front. When people ask me what their $50 ticket purchase will accomplish, I reflect back to that wounded warrior ... I think about our Washington troops deployed in Afghanistan ... the regiment of fallen soldier Spc. Aaron Aamot, who just arrived home to barracks filled with supplies thanks to the determination of the Aamot family, the outreach of Soldiers' Angels and the Whatcom County community, and what those moments will mean to the soldiers as they deal with the challenges of transitioning back to the home front.
"I think of our WWII, Vietnam and Korean veterans who are overwhelmed with tears of gratitude when they are visited at the VA hospitals, and I think of our Washington Gold Star families as they continue efforts to make sure their loved ones are remembered and the support continues for those who serve so bravely upon our behalf.
"The funds raised from A Night For Our Heroes provide care packages, equipment, emergency assistance and morale support, and allows us to provide 'moments' to many. Our goal is to continue our support to those who are defending our freedom on the battlefield, and to embrace them with support when they all come home. This is a huge undertaking and the reality is we need the community to roll up their sleeves with us.
"A Night For Our Heroes" has a very special Founding Father's theme this year: "Land of the Free Because of the Brave" is something we hope everyone reflects upon in their daily lives, but particularly on Oct. 2 at the Lakeway, we want Whatcom County to reaffirm its patriotism and join together to honor and raise funds for our heroes.
Your contribution, your presence will absolutely impact the lives of many. A $50 ticket ... priceless."
'NIGHT FOR OUR HEROES'
Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Best Western Lakeway Inn, 714 Lakeway Drive. 6 p.m. no host cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner.
Program, silent and live auction to follow
For information on tickets, auctions or more, contact Kathy Bergman at 360-224-5915.