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On behalf of the Family Readiness
Group and the soldiers and soldiers' families of the Army National
Guard 106th Aviation Units, I would like to send out a giant and
all-inclusive THANK YOU to
the great individuals, organizations, businesses and fantastic
communities of central Illinois for making the Jan. 4 send-off
rally for our soldiers an absolutely wonderful heartwarming
The units have arrived safely at
Fort Knox, Ky., and as phone calls now filter in from the soldiers
to their families, many soldiers mention the overwhelming
encouragement and strength they received from the hundreds of
caring people, businesses and organizations that rallied along
miles of pavement as buses took them away from home and family and
toward an 18-month deployment in Iraq.
To Operation Enduring Support and its
dedicated members who arrived early and stayed late, served coffee
and doughnuts, handed out flags and posters, gave hugs, and took
pictures for families -- thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
And many, many thanks to the Decatur Macon County Red Cross and
their wonderful volunteers who warmed families with coffee, hot
chocolate and doughnuts and served as the public information booth
for the rally. And FRG extends its deepest appreciation to the VFW
Oren L. David Post 99 honor guard who braved the terrible weather
to shuttle families to and from the Armory all morning long.
[to top of
second column in this letter]
Warm thanks to the 106th soldiers who
set up tables and chairs and were so polite, kind and helpful even
as they themselves were readying to leave!
To the hundreds of students from
schools all over the area who made banners and posters --please
know that your works set the enthusiastic and patriotic atmosphere
for the rally. To area business and organizations who donated
items for the rally -- you are much appreciated! And to the media
who passed along word of the rally to the community -- WOW! What a
great job! What a turnout we had, and all because of your
dedication to central Illinois communities!
These central Illinois soldiers not
only leave their families, they leave their jobs and they leave
the volunteer ranks in churches, youth organizations, clubs,
service groups, PTOs and nonprofit charity organizations.
Soldiers, you will be genuinely missed in this community as you
put your lives on hold to serve your country!!
Now we turn our full attention to
supporting our American soldiers as they serve in the Iraqi
theater. Moreover, we will start planning another community rally
-- one for the safe return home of our soldiers when their mission
in Iraq is completed!
Godspeed, 106th -- your communities
wait for your return.
Family Readiness Group
(posted Jan. 8, 2004)
On Dec. 31, 2003, the books were
closed on the most successful Harvest of Talents for World Hunger
in its history. The 20th annual Harvest of Talents proceeds,
totaling $75,534.34, have been forwarded to International Disaster
Emergency Service to fund several feeding programs in various
parts of the world during the coming year.
In a year with a poor economic
climate, there were many who said it could not be done. Through
the grace of God and the contributions of many, from this and
other communities, the Harvest was able to claim a victory on
behalf of the world's hungry people.
[to top of
second column in this letter]
With deep humility and grateful
hearts, we express our love and appreciation to each and every
individual and/or business that contributed to the success of this
ministry of hope.
Our 20th anniversary theme was
"Building Bridges of Hope." We plan to continue building those
bridges as plans are launched for the 21st annual Harvest of
Talents for World Hunger to be held on October 23, 2004.
Pat Snyder, on behalf of the
Harvest of Talents for World Hunger
(posted Jan. 7, 2004)