I don’t know how many of you know any war veterans, but I’m guessing someone in your life has taken part in a war at some point or another. If you don’t know anyone, I recommend tracking down a vet, taking a few hours and just pick their brain. The older vets are like walking history books and they all have stories that will rattle your brain.
As for myself, I count myself lucky to know quite a few veterans from wars spanning across the 20th and 21st century (WWII, Vietnam, Korean, Desert Storm, and whatever you want to call the current war). I grew up listening to one of my dad’s best friends, Tom, tell his stories from Vietnam. Every time we would go over and visit he would tell my brother and me about a different time he was under attack, or where he drove his tank, or how he received different medals. He would show us his old uniforms and photographs from a time and place that many veterans would rather not talk about. Listening to Tom (and my grandfathers and friends I graduated with), I gained a greater respect for those men and women that defend our country.
This month’s Indians in the Community event was very special to me because I had the opportunity to go to the USO care packaging facility in North Canton along with my fellow co-workers and help take care of the soldiers currently in active duty. We had a few different jobs when we were there including: rearranging the assembly line to make for easier packaging, counting and sorting DVD’s that will be put into care packages, bagging over 2,000 bags of hand sanitizer and soaps as well as boxing up over 100 care packages that will be sent out to soldiers serving overseas who are from the Northern Ohio area.
I can usually talk my way through anything but, while my blog writing skills are just amazing beyond belief, I’ve decided its time to introduce a new way for the Cleveland Indians to talk about their off the field accomplishments. Below is a link to a quick video of our time at the USO facility, including a few interviews with volunteers and the USO project manager, Jeannie Soley. With film being a visual medium, I hope these videos we produce help shed a little more light on what the Indians do to positively impact the Cleveland community as well as create a stronger connection to our fans.
Thanks to Dan Mendlik for putting the video together! Indians in the Community–USO