Last week I posted about the 201st Engineering Battalion of the Kentucky National Guard. In the post I railed against Yellow Ribbon Patriots who talk about supporting the troops - and really just end up making themselves feel a little less guilty.
The 201st has been training in Wisconsin for the last couple of months and are shipping out for Afghanistan very soon. Due to regulation and red tape, in order to get a final couple of days leave at home with their families, they had to raise $60,000 of their own money by the 15th of April.
The United Way of Kentucky took up the their cause, established a fund and put out a call for donations. By the end of last week they had raised about 10% of their goal, and frankly it was looking pretty iffy.
Then a guy named Bill Baird got involved. Bill owns Saturn Machine and Welding in Sturgis, Kentucky. He contacted Sandy Childers at the United Way, determined the remaining balance necessary to get the 201st home - and then wrote a check.
The 450 members of the 201st will get 6 days home with their families at the end of this month.
When I spoke to Sandy this morning, she was still in shock and very, very happy. See Sandy not only works at the United Way, she has somebody close, very close, to her in the 201st. She and her associates not only established the fund, they did it, including all the legal hoopla, in just three hours. Then they started beating the drums and got the story out - and Bill Baird answered the call to the tune of $49,000.
And that, my friends, is supporting the troops.
I've said it before in other posts - what matters is what you do in the moment. Believe in this war or not, what matters is how we take care of our own in their hour of need. Hell of a job Sandy and Bill and the rest who donated their time and money.
Hell of a job. You make me proud to be an American. Your efforts changed the lives of 450 of your fellow citizens and their families. Whatever comes, you can always be proud of your actions today. Well, done.
Note: the United Way Fund remains open. Further donations will go to support the 201st, and other members of the Kentucky National Guard, while deployed. Information if you're interested can be found by following the link above.