Iraq, Afghanistan; New Request for Winter Clothing
Dear Supporters and Friends,
This message includes:
- Three updates from Iraq (re: school supplies and library books provided by Spirit of America), including a message from embedded journalist Bill Roggio.
- An update from Afghanistan re: a school reconstruction project supported by Spirit of America.
- A new request from Marines for winter clothing and blankets for Iraqis. If you know of a corporate donor for winter clothing, let us know (see below).
As we near the end of the year, we would appreciate your consideration of a gift to Spirit of America. More on this below. First we'd like to share with you one of the things that makes our work so rewarding; seeing those who benefit from your generous support. Here is a photo of an Afghani schoolgirl with a microscope donated by Spirit of America (based on a request from US Army personnel).
BILL ROGGIO EMBEDDED IN IRAQ - MSG FROM FALLUJAH
Bill Roggio is a journalist embedded with the Marines in Al Anbar, Iraq. He's been meeting with some of the Marines Spirit of America has helped. Bill's blog is here. Following is a message from Bill after his meeting with Major Britt Rosenberry:
Since of Fallujah was wrested from the control of al-Qaeda and the insurgency in November of 2004, the Coalition and Iraq government have worked to restore security and basic services the warn-torn city. Major Britt Rosenberry, stationed in Camp Fallujah, has 3-man teams who patrol with the Army and Marine Infantry throughout the entire Al Anbar Province. They interact with the citizens and concerned with their plight.
This generation of kids are the key to Iraq's future success. Al-Qaeda and the insurgency has been conducting a "Taliban-like campaign" to close down schools, keep children uneducated. They harass and intimidate principals (called headmasters) and teachers. This year, a headmaster was kidnapped in front of the students and later assassinated.
One of Major Rosenberry's highest priorities is the children. They are highly susceptible to insurgent propaganda, and ripe for recruitment by the insurgents. "Schools are easy targets," said Major Rosenberry. "The Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army patrol the city, but are not always providing overwatch to fixed locations." To counter the intimidation of Al-Qaeda closing schools, they are secretly opened in homes. But this comes at a cost. Some children may travel up to two hours a day for two hours of instruction. And the provincial schools, whether they are established or clandestine, need supplies. School books, notebooks, pens pencils and other school items are in short supplies.
To fill this need, Major Rosenberry asked for help from home. "Don't send the fat pill," the care package filled with candy, Major Rosenberry told friends and family back home. "Send us notebooks and pens."
Not only do the school supplies help the Iraq children, but they help to defeat al-Qaeda and insurgency. "When fighting an information war, it is important to back up words with actions," said Major Rosenberry. Providing the school supplies allows the Coalition and Iraqi security forces to live up to their commitment to keeps schools open. The mission also introduces the children to the Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers and Marines. "They get to see we are human. They laugh, we makes jokes. We take off the gear and by the time we leave we're exchanging hugs. When we return, they recognize us."
Bill's message is also posted here.
LIBRARY BOOKS IN IRAQ
A 40-foot ocean container of books purchased by Spirit of America as part of our Library Books for Iraqi Children project has arrived in Baghdad and will be distributed to schools and libraries by the LIFE organization. Tagging along with this shipment were 4,000 textbooks donated to Wasit University in Iraq by students and teachers at Ball High School in Galveston, Texas. The textbook donation was arranged by US Marine Colonel David Couvillon. "Couv" is a Spirit of America "old timer" - he made our first request in June, 2003. (You can read about that project here.)
Here is a photo of the textbooks donated to Wasit University. More on this project is here.
MICROSCOPES FOR AFGHAN SCHOOLCHILDREN
At the request of US Army personnel in Afghanistan and with your support, Spirit of America donated 55 microscopes for a reconstructed school in Kabul Afghanistan. Two photos of this are below. You can read more about this project and see more photos here and here.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES - BALAD, IRAQ
Les Moton serving with US Army Civil Affairs in Balad, Iraq sent us several photos of the distribution of school supplies donated by Spirit of America. Here is one of them:
For more photos and information, go here:
I hope this explains my project. For me, it is empowering local leaders and helping them to assist their own Iraqi people... I could never thank you or Spirit of America enough! This is why our country is the greatest. "
Respectfully submitted and Semper Fidelis,
Major Scott Kish, Civil Affairs Officer 1st Battalion, 6th Marines
Read the whole thing and contribute here: US Troops Request Winter Clothing - if you know know of a manufacturer that could donate winter clothing in quantity, please reply to this email. Here is a photo of distribution of SoA-donated blankets last winter in Afghanistan.
Although we have seen encouraging accomplishments through our work, the news in general from Iraq and Afghanistan this year has been discouraging. We, however, are not dissuaded. We know the immediate impact of the support we've provided to Americans on the front lines in Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently, the Horn of Africa has improved relations, helped save lives and provided important encouragement and material support to those struggling for freedom. Providing this support is a clear and compelling "good thing." Accordingly, as long as we receive requests for assistance from Americans serving abroad, we will be here and do our best to support them. We have total belief in the ideals for which our great country stands and we understand this is a marathon and not a sprint. We hope you will stick with us.
Please consider a year-end gift to Spirit of America. Your support makes possible all the projects you read about in emails like this one. A gift to our Unrestricted Fund gives us the greatest flexibility to direct funds where needed the most. To make a gift, please call 1-800-691-2209 or visit our site.
Checks may be sent to Spirit of America, File 50315, Los Angeles, CA 90074-0315. If you would like to speak with Peggy Findley regarding a stock gift, please call 310-481-9123.
Best wishes for a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a happy, prosperous New Year and a continued appreciation of our many blessings. And, as always, thank you for your support.
Jim Hake and the team at Spirit of America