This last Fathers Day and July 4th weekend got me really thinking. When I’m out traveling, doing football clinics I miss my family immensely. Even though I’m gone for just 2 days at a time, for me it’s gut wrenching being away, especially when I have to miss one of the kids activities that is important to them.
Over the 4th of July, my wife invited over one of her friends from her church study group. They have 4 young children, just like us, including twin 5 year olds. The mom is having a rough time with the kids because her husband is in the National Guard and was called up recently to fight in Iraq. He is expected to be gone for just over a year.
Now I can’t stand being away from my kids for more than 2 days and this guy’s not only is going to be away from his kids for over a year, he’s going to be putting his life on the line everyday. Imagine the pressure him and his family are going through. Imagine if you were in this position. I was an Army National Guardsman (91B Combat Medic) but was never called up and am no longer in. That scenario really got me thinking.
We found out that the main method of communication between family members is letters, not the internet. The reason is because the military just doesn’t provide computers or access for the troops as part of standard operating procedure. The computers that are there (very few) are owned by the individual soldier and he pays $60 per month for internet access, then he shares with his buddies. This “sharing” is often a long line of 4-5 hours of soldiers trying to get word to their families that they are OK and trying to keep their families together from thousands of miles away. For our friend, her twins are acting out, because of the fear they have for dads safety etc.
My good friend James Barg from Rochester NY has taken it upon himself to try and alleviate a bit of the pain from this problem by sending computers to the troops. He and his son-in law have built 2 computers and sent them to an Army Unit, Nemesis Unit, Troop 42542 inBasra, Iraq. The cost of the computer build is $400 and it costs about $50 to send the computer out. Even with these computers, the lines in Unit 42542 are 3 hours + long for a 10 minute spot for these guys to communicate with their families.
From now until July 25th (10 days) we are going to raise money to send several computers to this unit to help alleviate the problem. Just imagine if you were in this spot, would you want a box of cookies or the ability to communicate more effectively with your family?
I’m not political, but I do feel for the guys that are there and their families. Supposedly we hear every day, “We Support the Troops”, but what support have you actually overtly done? I’m ashamed to say I’ve done little. But personally my family will aggressively support this effort with our time and money, please do the same. I will report on 7/25 what our efforts have raised and exactly when the computers not only ship, but when they arrive.
Just go up to the “Send Money” tab, click it and put in James e-mail address and the amount. Winning Youth Football will match your donation.
This is the same payment method you used to make payment for the coaching materials on my web site.
I’ve known James for 6 years and he is very reliable. We first met at the Single Wing Conclave in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. You will find the Single Wing guys really stick together and it doesn’t surprise me one bit James and I are working together to make this project a reality to help impact these troops in a very profound and positive way.
Let’s blow this one out for the dads and their families that are making sacrifices and can’t coach youth football this year. Think about that, for many of us our worry for the next 3 months is who should play 1 back or right guard, while for these guys and their families, it’s will I make it through this deployment alive and with my family intact.
I’ve never done anything like this on my blog and do not post political or social commentary here. This will most likely be a first and last time effort, but something I felt very called to do.