01 March 2007

The Kid is Alright!

Continuing on today's theme about America's youth, here is a new post from Robert Connolly, a regular contributor to the SAG blog.

A few weeks back, we took a swing at helping out the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. They have been in Eastern Afghanistan for the past 12 months taking care of business in that very rugged territory. At the last minute, their tour was extended until June. They are professionals, so when the word came to turn around and head back, they did it. If they had a problem, it was largely due to having disposed of all the extra things that make life bearable: hygiene items, snack stuff, electronics, bedding, and so forth.

I explained the situation to my faculty and staff colleagues and students here and asked them to consider helping out one infantry company of about 150 men. Many did, and I once again renewed acquaintances with the folks at the local Post Office. Many of you are personally familiar with this.

I wanted to bring to your attention the extraordinary industry and commitment of one 12-year old whose efforts dominated all my (generous) adult helpers.

Sarah (not her real name) decided that she was going to make it her mission to help all of these guys. Not just a platoon... an entire infantry company. With the financial backing of her parents, this young lady put together 150 (!) hygiene kits for me to send to 3rd Brigade troopers. Each kit was contained in its own big Ziploc bag with the following items: two small cans of shaving cream, six razors, deodorant, two small bottle of shampoo, two small bars of soap, one small bottle of body wash, a small container of foot powder, a toothbrush, two small tubes of toothpaste, dental floss, two energy bars, and two single-servings of drink mix. Oh, and she added a travel pack of detergent into the Ziploc bag, too. Now if you know anything about hygiene needs, you realize that Sarah covered all the bases.

To make this work, Sarah negotiated bulk discounts with local merchants (dad made his fortune in the sales business…it runs in the family!) and then organized a mammoth packing operation at home. (If you haven’t done something like this, you cannot imagine how big this job really is.) Sarah’s dad brought everything to me, but it took three days to transfer everything. With everything that she and my other ‘helpers’ provided, we were able to make a substantial dent in needs for three infantry companies, a cavalry troop, and a field artillery platoon. Without Sarah, we wouldn’t have made anywhere near this big an impact.

I don’t guess Sarah knows (or even cares) too much about red states, blue states, Congressional resolutions, and so forth. What she knew is that these guys needed a hand, and she was going to do what needed doing. As 12 year old, she understood the fundamentals of supporting the troops. There is a lesson there for an awful lot of adults.

Bravo, Sarah! The kid is alright!

Bob can be reached via email or you may leave him a comment below.

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