Prior to her visit to Germany last year, Soldiers' Angel Bonnie initiated efforts to involve members of her church in supporting our fighting men and women. Since then, the Minister Mike Nix of the Beltline Church of Christ in Decatur, AL has allowed Bonnie to set up boxes to collect items for care packages for deployed Soldiers and the wounded, and "work parties" are held to pack the items for shipment.
Here are the members of G.R.I.T.S.: Girls Raised In The Son, a program started by Rachel, the youth minister's wife. This is her living room - a free-for-all - as the girls assemble Valentine's Day gifts for patients at Landstuhl.
Bonnie: "Now I ask you, is this beautiful or what? It's about time our kids learned how to get involved with something bigger than themselves. This generation knows nothing of 'war efforts' of old, but now they're learning, and in a new way. I'm so proud of them!
I checked the notes inside; all were positive, and of course my darling daughter had to be a little different and address hers to: Dear Military Dude.
They were made with a lot of excitement and love."
A sense of service and love is nothing new for Bonnie, her family, and her community. Here's Bonnie and her Dad "Mad Matt" during their visit to Landstuhl late last year. Matt's a Veteran who was stationed in Germany during the Cold War.
On the far left is Jennifer, a Soldier here for medical treatment. It was love at first sight between Jennifer and Bonnie. Jennifer has since returned to duty downrange with Bonnie as her adopted Mom and Angel.
Bonnie and Matt came to Germany with more than full hearts - they also brought several hundred dollars worth of cash and material donations from members of the Beltline Church of Christ. Here are some gift bags with "girly stuff" especially for female soldiers.
Here's Bonnie with a wounded Romanian Soldier named Val. (You can read more about Val here.) Meanwhile, Matt was making the rounds and I do believe he spoke to just about every inpatient at the hospital that day, in addition to entertaining the outpatients at Kleber barracks.
Back in Alabama recently, Bonnie's nephew Josh attended a work party while home on R&R where he met several church members.
The next day at church Dr. Steve, one of the church Elders, addressed the congregation with the following words:
"I went to the work party because I love Bonnie so much and I wanted to do something to help her. Then I talked to Josh, and after we left the Church, I realized my heart wasn't right.
I realized that being involved in this program isn't about helping Bonnie, it's about helping Josh and others like him."
How well said.
I'm proud to know you, Bonnie. Your dedication and leadership are an inspiration to us all. Thank you and the members of the Beltline Church of Christ for your compassion and for your patriotism.