Letters From the Troops
Below are some of the letters we have received from military personnel regarding the care packages they have received from the Yellow Ribbon Support Group.
We encourage you to read them! You will really get a sense of how much these care packages mean to our troops. Just to get mail brings a "ray of sunshine" as one soldier puts it.
"It is so good to know that people on the home front care about our Soldiers, even after so many years at war."
Dear Mac and Pat,
Thank you so much for the wonderful care packages sent to my unit, 1/368th FMCO. We just got them today and everyone was very excited! They are, hands down, the best packages we have received. I, personally, loved the inclusion of all the chocolate. That stuff is very hard to come by out here. A lot of soldiers were bowled over by the Caramel Apple Pops. The Girl Scout Cookies and the magazines are a great staple for our office. We often work out and go to the gym so the water bottles will be out in full effect!
Your support and hard work constructing and sending out these parcels have not gone unnoticed. We all appreciate your active show of caring concern. It is so good to know that people on the home front care about our Soldiers, even after so many years at war.
SGT Raimer and the 1/368th FMCO
"It's support like this that keeps the morale up for our troops."
Thank you for the generous care package that you sent me. It's support like this that keeps the morale up for our troops. I sent the packages out to our Combat Outpost for the guys to enjoy. They rotate out once a week and living conditions are way below sub-standard. So, being the Supply Sergeant, I like to send stuff out that will help break up the monotony. It really makes me feel good when my soldiers return and thank me for sending out the puzzles, books, games and snacks. I just tell them that it's not me that sends it... it's wonderful people such as you and your organization. Getting them to write to people is like pulling teeth, so I take pleasure in sending thank you notes to all of the people that support us, our effort and our Country. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.
D Co. 1-504th PIR
"The sacrifices everyone has made in support of us out here truly lifts all of our spirits and is appreciated more than you could know."
Greetings Mac and Pat McCoy,
I am currently stationed in Afghanistan with the Marines here at Camp Leatherneck aboard Camp Bastion in Helmand Province. The Marines are very grateful to you and your organization for the very uplifting packages. The Marines have asked me to ensure that I express their sincere appreciation to you and your staff. We'd also ask that you pass on our sincere appreciation to the many Brownies, Girl Scouts, Ambassadors, and Council Leaders from Cook and Lake Counties who endured the bitter cold of your Midwest winter in support of Operation Cookie Drop 2009. Additionally, we thank the warriors from Palatine Police Department, Lincolnshire Police Department, Long Grove Fire Department and Schaumburg Fire Department/Station #54, who served as drop sites.
The sacrifices everyone has made in support of us out here truly lifts all of our spirits and is appreciated more than you could know.
God Bless each and every one of our supporters back home!
Maj Paul Ovalle
2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan
"My moral has been lifted and from the bottom of my heart; THANK YOU!"
Mac & Pat McCoy
I wanted to thank you for your package. I just received it today here in Afghanistan. It was surely the highlight of my day. I will share the contents with members of my squad since we do have some down time every so often. You have an amazing program and I commend you for all the great services that you provide. My moral has been lifted and from the bottom of my heart; THANK YOU!
"They collected all the Beanie Baby's and we're going to take them to the local hospital to be handed out to the local children, so you are not only bringing smiles to the troops here but also to children of the local community."
Dear Mac & Pat McCoy Yellow Ribbon Support Group,
Just want to send you an email and let you know we received your packages earlier this week and handed them out to the guys/girls in the squadron. They loved the packages and the support you are providing for them and for all service members deployed. Their favorite items seemed to be the cookies and toiletries. They collected all the Beanie Baby's and we're going to take them to the local hospital to be handed out to the local children, so you are not only bringing smiles to the troops here but also to children of the local community.
Just a little background on our unit; we are the 75th Fighter Squadron / 75 Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) stationed in Moody AFB, Ga. We maintain the A-10C aircraft and belong to the 23 Wing out of Moody. The 75 AMU is one of the three original groups that started back in 1941 as the 1st American Volunteer Group named The Flying Tigers. The group was started by Claire Lee Chennault who recruited pilots and crewman to go to China and help support and defend the Burma Road from Japanese attacks. They flew the Curtiss P-40 aircraft and had one of the best fighter records in military history. Their trademark, shark teeth, can been seen flying on our aircraft even today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers.
On a personal note I would just like to say how much your support means to the people deployed throughout the world. It's so great to see people like yourself and company's like Xerox Capital Services, S&S Concepts, Inc., and GE Women's Network taking time out of your busy day to help out. It is people like you that make this country worth fighting for and we are proud to defend this great nation.
On behalf of myself and the 75 AMU
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
MSgt Scott A. Blakeman
A-10 Weapons Flight Chief
"Many of our soldiers have small children that they miss and the letters are very touching making us feel closer to home."
Dear Mac & Pat McCoy:
On Behalf of the 345th Combat Support Hospital at COB Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Yellow Ribbon Support Group for all the packages for soldiers and the letters from the children of many of your employees.
The 345th Combat Support Hospital soldiers are very appreciative of your thoughtfulness and the kind wishes that you sent our way. The letters are very precious. Many of our soldiers have small children that they miss and the letters are very touching making us feel closer to home.
We are happy to serve and feel privileged to be a part of this mission. Thank you for your generosity and for supporting our efforts.
On Behalf of the Team at COB Speicher
Irene Talarico, Maj
"We often use donations from patriotic Americans such as you to assist extremely needy families and orphans living in the heart of Baghdad."
Dear Pat and Mac McCoy,
Thank you for your support of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Civilians and Coalition partners in the Directorate of Interior Affairs. We all greatly appreciate and promptly use the donations we receive. In addition, these gifts remind us of the American people and their support of our mission as we continue to assist the Iraqi police in developing the capacity to secure themselves and govern based on the Rule of Law.
We often use donations from patriotic Americans such as you to assist extremely needy families and orphans living in the heart of Baghdad. To say that these families and orphans are grateful for these acts of generosity would be a gross understatement. Your acts of kindness assist our operations as we build the goodwill that will help shape the future of a stable, peaceful, and free Iraq.
You may contact me, Command Sergeant Major Bronson and other DoIA leaders at [email protected] Also, I suggest you visit http://www.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil to read "The Advisor," a bimonthly publication from Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq, our higher headquarters. "The Advisor" tells the story of our operations here.
Although we are far from home and our families, we are comforted daily by the goodness and compassion of the American people. Those of us serving in Iraq send you our sincere gratitude. Thank you for your continued support and patriotism.
James M. Milano
Brigadier General, US Army
Deputy Commanding General
"Most charities want to grow at whatever pace they can. You are content to grow organically and sensibly."
Dear Pat and YRSG Members,
We really enjoyed working with you on our University of Chicago project. You presented us with a real challenge: your group is so well constructed and governed that it is very difficult to suggest improvements to what you are doing.
Most charities want to grow at whatever pace they can. You are content to grow organically and sensibly. Your values mirror the soldiers that you serve: you honor their pragmatism, humanity and dedication with your efforts.
We want to make a donation to your effort. Please accept it with our thankfulness and appreciation. Continue to show our service people that we appreciate their efforts!
Don Millar, Susan Ji, Mukul Juneja, Himanshu Varandani & Weiping Xin
"They are always so grateful to me for supplying them with simple things such as baby wipes, lotions, sanitizer, soap, etc... If not for your generosity, I would not be able to provide these soldiers with the much needed items."
Dear Mac & Pat McCoy,
My name is Cole Kathman and I am a Sergeant in the United States Army and the lucky recipient of your generous care packages.
I thought that I would drop you a quick email to not only express my sincere gratitude towards you but to also let you know how I am getting your generosity out to other soldiers.
You see, I travel out on missions quite regularly that take me all over the Central Iraq region. In such, I come across many soldiers at the smaller FOB's/COP's who do not have the simple luxury of the postal service.
In my travels I am sure to always take with me as much as I can physically carry, personal hygiene products, candy, and other simple luxuries. In particular, there is one team that spends 7 days out in the "field" with a 3 day break back in the FOB for rest. They are always so grateful to me for supplying them with simple things such as baby wipes, lotions, sanitizer, soap, etc. If not for your generosity, I would not be able to provide these soldiers with the much needed items.
I wish to express my sincere thanks and relay the thanks of the hundred other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines with whom I share your generosity with.
The simple words of Thank You cannot begin to express how much your packages mean to not only myself, but to the other Service Members who you reach out to!
Cole L. Kathman
"We are very grateful to have people like yourselves help us during our time of need. It shows that we are not forgotten and that there are people that care about us even though we are far away from home and our families."
Thank you very much for your support, love, and caring for myself and the American Troops. My name is Eric J. Menzel. I am a Petty Officer 3rd Class in the United States Navy. I had received 5 of your care packages that you sent to my ship. I was astonished to even know that they had a Yellow Ribbon Support Group out there just to help the troops in need. I will admit that I have never heard of the group but I greatly appreciate all that you do for the military. On behalf of my division (Weapons Department/G-3), we are very grateful to have people like yourselves help us during our time of need. It shows that we are not forgotten and that there are people that care about us even though we are far away from home and our families. Though I do live on a ship along with the other Sailors and Marines, I would like extend my gratitude and let you know that I will be writing to the support group and to the children that helped put together everything for us. Just give me a list of names and I will try to get my division to write to the children back in your state. I'll see if I can assign pen pals for the sailors in my division.
I appreciate everything that you guys do to help us as much as you appreciate us being out here to defend our freedom and the freedom of others. Thank you for praying for us. We need all the prayers we can get. In the words of Josie Scott from the famous band called Nickel off of their latest hit song, If Everyone Cared, I quote, "If everyone cared and nobody cried, If everyone loved and nobody lied, If everyone shared and swallowed their pride, Then we'd see the day, when nobody died". And in conclusion, it's tough being out here and missing family and friends back at home but we know that all of you are with the American Troops. God Bless and stay safe.
Eric Joseph Menzel
Petty Officer 3rd Class
United States Navy
"He was very low, went to his bunk and found a 'yellow ribbon package' on his bed. He opened it, because he knew there would be food."
Hello - today I met a young man, coreman, USMC, back from Iraq a few weeks. He related the story of how hungry and exhausted he was one day, just returning from an assignment. He was informed he had 10 minutes to prepare for another 24 assignment. He was very low, went to his bunk and found a 'yellow ribbon package' on his bed. He opened it, because he knew there would be food. He grabbed everything he could and reported to his unit. This tour turned into 5 days, and he had enough to eat for himself and 2 other marines that had no food. I was so touched by this, I came home from church, looked your group up, and printed off the 'wish list.' I will be collecting as much as I possibly can and will bring it to the Palatine PD. My husband is a marine, served in Viet Nam and many of our friends served in the military. Navy, Army, Air Force, National Guard, you name it. Our families have had servicemen for the USA since WWI and we are proud to be Americans. I did not hear of this project before today, (where have I been???) but I vow to make up for lost time. Thank you for what you have done for our troops.
"As a 20 year Active veteran for the US Army this does my heart good to feel the support for my soldiers and fellow team members."
I am the 1st Sergeant for the Border Transition Teams that you sent the Care Packages to here in Iraq. CPT Fanto is one on my Operations officers that the packages were sent to. I would like to personally thank the Yellow Ribbon Support Group, S&S Concepts and the Girl Scouts GS Troop 667 and GS Troop 347 for your support. As a 20 year Active veteran for the US Army this does my heart good to feel the support for my soldiers and fellow team members. We patrol over 135 mile of border between Iraq and Iran; it is a tough, challenging and isolated mission. Working together as a team is paramount; your ability to depend on one another to accomplish the mission is your single goal. All you girls of the Girl Scouts of America; I am so proud of you the lessons you learn through being with such an organization will last a life time. For all the businesses that support this great and noble act; shows me the type of business and vision you wish to instill. So once again from the "Mustangs" Team 4310 we deeply appreciate you keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. May God Bless each and every one of you.
1st Sergeant Edwards
Border Transition Team
FOB Caldwell, Iraq
United States Navy
"Thank you for all the work your organization does to keep deployed members in your thoughts, minds and hearts."
Dear Mac & Pat McCoy,
On behalf of the men and women from the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, we would like to express our thanks and gratitude for all the wonderful packages sent by THE YELLOW RIBBON SUPPORT GROUP. The packages we received were very thoughtful and greatly appreciated. Thank you for all the work your organization does to keep deployed members in your thoughts, minds and hearts.
K. Michael Shirley, Capt, USAF
"...Your package or letters might be the only mail they will receive while they are here."
Dear Mac & Pat McCoy,
Hello. My name is Jason Hanifin and I am a Company Commander for the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. My troops have been receiving your wonderful packages and I want to say Thank You! The support your organization has provided to my troops has been immeasurable. I can tell you that you are impacting these kids' lives on a daily basis and bringing forth many smiles.
I want you to know that I deeply appreciate your efforts and tireless commitment towards our troops. The packages you send are critical to these troops because most of the items you send are difficult to obtain here. I also want you to know that for some of my troops, your package or letters might be the only mail they will receive while they are here. You absolutely have touched the hearts of many of America's finest and probably some of the sons and daughters of people you know.
You can rest assure that the men and women out here are working hard, sweating in the heat and trying our best to ensure the Iraqis have a stable and free environment. Although our focus is on the Iraqis and our mission, we never stop thinking about back home and the people who support us. You are one of those people and your organization should know that you have about 300 best friends out here.
Lastly, I want to send everyone who volunteers and helps support your organization our sincere appreciation. Please know that you are serving your country by giving our time and enduring selfless sacrifice for the good of others. We shall keep you in our thoughts and prayers and if there is anything we can do for you, please let me know.
Jason J. Hanifin
HHC, 82nd Sustainment Brigade
82nd Airborne Division
"We hear a lot of the bad stuff back home, protests and things like that, not a lot of the good stuff, so when we do see it, it brings a smile to our tired faces and tears to our dirty and tired eyes."
I just received a paper(s) form your org. and I have to say I really enjoyed the articles about Budwiser, and Sen. McCain, thank you for sending them, I epically like the news article about the school kids saying thank you. The war here seems never ending, I have been here for 7 months and it seems some days never end.
My name is Dennis Smith, I am a Corporal in the army with the 10th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) I am a medic. A CSH is like a MASH except we are behind the lines and give a better scale of emergency care, we are in effect a Trauma center. We work long days, sometimes a day lasts 3 or 4 days, the wounded never stop coming. The articles are true, we fight not for the Iraqis so much as for the guys and girls next to us and the one we never met. Every day we see people (U.S. and Coalition forces and Iraqis) on the worst day of their life, sometimes we get lucky and save them, sometime not. But no matter what reasons each soldier is here for, we are all proud to be here and would do it again, no questions asked.
I am basically writing you to thank you for your support and belief in what we are doing here, it really makes a difference to us, when you know some back home support you it makes getting up and doing your job every day a little easier. We hear a lot of the bad stuff back home, protests and things like that, not a lot of the good stuff, so when we do see it, it brings a smile to our tired faces and tears to our dirty and tired eyes.
We only ask one thing, refer to us as soldiers, not heroes, heroes are the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we here are tired, hungry sometimes, dirty, and have a bad attitude, we are a lot of things but hero is not one of them.
Thank you again for the message of support!
Dennis Smith, CPL,
Task Force South
"You keep our spirits up on days that sometimes have no spirit."
To: Kids of Holy Family Parish,
Imagine a bird in a cage, a bird that happens to live 50 years. 50 years in the same cage looking out at the same room. Iraq is the cage and the door to the cage has been recently opened. The bird is scared, because he has never been out the door before. He is curious also and moves to the door a lot. It takes a long time for him to fly out the door and into the room. When he does, he hurts himself flying farther and longer then ever before. He may fly into a window. He may encounter a cat. He has to learn what is good and what is bad. It is tough to survive. If he happens to find an open door, he encounters the world and this scares him to death. Imagine that, and know that this is what we are doing here. Trying to help the bird leave the cage, and survive, I know he is free forevermore. It is a war for everyone here and long long days. Hard for us, and hard for the Iraqis (the birds) leaving the cage. It will take a long time, and some birds now are flying into the wall and dying. We will try to save them, as many as can be to enjoy the sun, fly free from tree to tree, and live as we do in the USA to love who we want to love, and live as we choose to live, and worship in the way they choose to worship.
Thank you all for the care packages and kind notes. Especially Christina for her letter and bracelet, Mrs. Larson's class and especially Rebecca Novakowski, and lastly Mac and Pat McCoy.
Bless you all. You keep our spirits up on days that sometimes have no spirit.
From: Cor Tim Zysk, IIMEF FWD G8cor
United States Marine Corps
"Your care packages are a vital link in improving soldier morale in a hostile and stressful environment."
Dear Yellow Ribbon Support Group,
I just wanted to take the time to write you a letter to personally say “thank you” for all that you do for the service men and women stationed in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Your care packages are a vital link in improving soldier morale in a hostile and stressful environment. As we serve here in Iraq to defend democracy and play an integral part in the war on terrorism, I just want you to know that you are our heroes by taking the time out of your busy schedules to provide us with the comforts of home that are truly missed. Again, I thank you, our soldiers thank you and the country thanks you! God bless you all!!!
A. Crutchfield Jr.
CPT, United States Army
"It’s nice to know whether or not people support this war, most everyone supports us troops."
Yellow Ribbon Support Group,
I received your package earlier this week. I shared your package with some of the other Marines in my platoon. Everyone, including myself, was very thankful. It’s nice to know whether or not people support this war, most everyone supports us troops. I know that there are some Marines who don’t receive as much mail as others, but due to packages like yours, they are able to receive some mail. Once again, thank you.
"We could not maintain the morale, hope, and optimism driving us on each day without such organizations."
Your package has come at the most appropriate time. I was just about to have a shortage of much needed necessities. The Yellow Ribbon Support Group will be praised throughout the Armed Services. We could not maintain the morale, hope, and optimism driving us on each day without such organizations. Mrs. McCoy, you are a tribute to our nation and a savior to our Marines. Tell all your children and helpers that they have touched our hearts and of course our stomachs. These tokens and gestures do great things for Marines in Iraq. They allow us to remember all those wonderful people in America that we serve. They give us small comforts that are very hard to obtain. They humble us with their charity. Thank your for believing in us and caring enough to take the time. In life this is all that matters.
1st Lt. C. Thompson
"... but the candy I put into plastic zip block bags and will toss it out to the children as we fly over. It has become a common practice of ours... "
Dear Mac & Pat,
I received the package today from the support group and I just wanted to say... Thank you very much. It was a nice surprise to have a package waiting for me when I wasn’t expecting one. We all appreciate your support. And thank your to all the companies, organizations and children that donated products, money and time so that we could receive these care packages. I kept some for myself and shared some with my buddies... but the candy I put into plastic zip block bags and will toss it out to the children as we fly over. It has become a common practice of ours... and you should see the children some running out of their huts and houses waiving and jumping up and down when they hear the helicopters coming.
Once again... thank you!!!
"Some people here that don’t have families or don’t receive mail from anyone but you all, are pleased just to get something."
I’d like to express my appreciation for all of the support. I mean the candy, toiletries and other knickknacks. These things are wonderful gifts. Some people here that don’t have families or don’t receive mail from anyone but you all, are pleased just to get something. I’m in the Air Force and this is my 3rd trip over here. My job requires me to see Iraqi citizens. The candy that you send is too much for just me, so I share it with the children of Iraq. So I just wanted to say thank you for me and the children, to Brownie troop 3648 and Yellow Ribbon Support. Thank you all for everything.
Senior Airman Summers
"... every piece of mail I get is a ray of sunshine. "
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness. I know it must take a lot of work and organization to send us these packages and it is greatly appreciated. I am a nurse stationed in Kuwait and every piece of mail I get is a ray of sunshine. I enjoy my job and am proud to serve my country.
God Bless You,
"The contents of the package will be put to good use for sure, and the cards and letters are always nice to see."
Dear Pat and Mac McCoy,
I just wanted to extend a brief note of my gratitude for the package that “The Yellow Ribbon Support Group” sent to me out here in Iraq. The contents of the package will be put to good use for sure, and the cards and letters are always nice to see. It’s great to know that there’s people like you back in the US that are thinking about all the US service men and women that are currently deployed. Thank you again for your time and your support.
2nd LT E. O'Connell
"Taking the time and effort to send these packages made my day a little better."
Mr. and Mrs. McCoy,
I would like to let you know that a few days ago I received the package that you sent. Thank you very much. It means a lot to me that you would take the time to do this for people you have never met. I was very touched by the letter from the children which were included. They were all from a first grade class. They had special meaning to me as I have a little girl in the first grade right now.
As you well know these are very difficult times and many of us here deeply miss our families. Taking the time and effort to send these packages made my day a little better.
I wish you the best this Holiday season.
"We share from unit to unit, so nothing goes unused."
Dear Yellow Ribbon Support Group,
I’d like to thank you for the nice care package. Even though I have some of the items you sent, it is just nice to know we are not forgotten here. We miss our families dearly.
Many people in my Unit have received a package and are very grateful to everyone who contributes their products and time. We share from unit to unit, so nothing goes unused.
Thank you again, very much.
"Receiving a package is a big event around here."
Dear Mac and Pat McCoy,
Please extend my gratitude to the “Yellow Ribbon Support Group” for all the effort and care put into sending the care packages with the special messages from various students. The gesture was well received, please believe me!! I had goose bumps from the kindness you showed. Receiving a package is a big event around here. One that we all enjoy. And, to say the least, we definitely enjoyed the one you sent!! The messages from the children tug at our hearts but, in the best of ways.
I hope you receive some degree of satisfaction from knowing that we (the soldiers) deeply appreciate your significant acts of support. I wish I could meet and greet each one of you, as well as the kids, especially the kids!! Thanks again.
MSG Hairston, 4ID
"... a group like yours helps us stay focused knowing we have support from home."
Mac, Pat and gang,
Thank you so much for the care package. All the items sent will be put to good use. As you can tell I’m already using the paper and envelope you have provided. I have seen several Yellow Ribbon Support Group packages arriving to the different soldiers who have been extremely appreciative of the kindness your group is providing. Our duties in Iraq seem endless, however with a group like yours it helps us stay focused knowing we have support from home. I salute you and all others that provide the time, finances, and resources for this service. Your thoughts and kindness are truly recognized.
"... it made me feel good to be recognized and appreciated."
Dear Yellow Ribbon Support Group,
Thanks so much for your care package. I’ve been here in Tikrit, Iraq for 5 months and the package was a welcome sight. My job is not as dangerous as many. I’m the 4th ID movement control officer. It is a tedious job though and it made me feel good to be recognized and appreciated. Thanks so much for the package once again!
"... if I went to the Army store on post it takes about 9 hours waiting in line."
I am from Kentucky and joined the army in 1985. I have been stationed in Germany for most of my 18 years in, and I have never had a package during a deployment like this one.
Thank you so very much for the great gifts and letter, I was so surprised to get them and they really helped at the right time. I have been here for about a month and if I went to the Army store on post it takes about 9 hours waiting in line. I have shared the items you sent with all of my soldiers and they all enjoyed them.
I would like to thank David for the card with the flags, Jessica for the card with the great picture of the flag and soldier, Rebecca with the red white and blue colors, and Lashon for the letter. They are all great and they really helped pick me up during this time away from my own kids and wife.
"It is people like you that make things seem closer to home."
Dear Mac and Pat McCoy,
I wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you” for the package and also for the support during this conflict. This being my first deployment . It is a new experience for me and countless others. I pray that me and my fellow soldiers are able to come home soon. Again I want to extend my thanks to those around you. It is people like you that make things “seem closer to home”.
"I am glad that we are not being forgotten."
Mr. And Mrs. McCoy,
Thank you for the care package. The items were a blessing. I am glad that we are not being forgotten. I am a Desert Shield/Storm Veteran so this is not my first or last tour here to the Middle East. I have been in the army for almost 16 years. I am 36 years old, native Texan, married to a retired SFC, two boys ages 13 and 8 years old. I am here to do my part so my children do not have to come here. The issues are not for me to say. I pray to the Lord for peace. May God bless you all for thinking of us.