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
This past Friday, the Cleveland Indians Front Office volunteered at the USO care package facility down in North Canton. There were about 11 of us that made the trek down 77 South and it was quite possibly the farthest Indians in the Community event we’ve ever done. But you know what? It was worth it.
We arrived at the facility, which is a lot smaller than I had pictured, at about 10:00 and were welcomed with open arm(y). Get it? Open arms, but since it is the USO I put Army in there instead. Moving on…
We got a quick background on the USO and all that they do for the soldiers–which this particular facility handles pretty much all of Northern Ohio. An amazing distance considering how many soldiers there are from Ohio. That should probably be a statistic I have handy for you, but you’ll learn it better if you look it up for yourself.
Once the background was over, we learned how to package things up. They take those US Postal Service “Flat Rate Boxes” and fill them as much as they possibly can. And just when you think you can’t fit anything else in there, they will find a little air pocket that you missed and make you fill it even more. It was amazing how much you could get in there to make it way 10 pounds. We put in DVD’s, CD’s, toothpaste, deoderant, soaps, contact solution, hand lotion and sanitizer, books, dryer sheets, anything you could think of that had to do with health and wellness. Then, in other boxes, we crammed canned foods, jerky, cereal, candy, chips and a whole bunch of other food.
All in all, we ended up filling up and packaging 137 care packages, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of record. We also had Slider come and visit/help out/destroy the facility. Plus, we got some face time on Fox 8 News and Newschannel 5.