Much has changed this year so far. For the younger people reading this, life is full of opportunity and the excitement felt as you look forward to experiencing relationships with friends, maybe growing a family and a career give you much hope. Revel in it for before you know it, you will be looking over your shoulder wondering where your life and all the opportunities that you put off until tomorrow went. Many of us find that the tomorrow that we long for never comes because of changing priorities and life’s demands. That’s not what you wanted, but it is the hand that life dealt you.
This summer, reality hit me up alongside my head. A good friend and active trustee in this chapter was diagnosed with cancer and in less than 60 days later, he was gone. A short time later another dear friend unexpectedly passed away. I have always been one to help other people and all of a sudden I began to question what am I doing for me? What am I doing for and with my family? These are all good questions that if you have not yet been faced with them, you will one day. I have come to understand that there are two kinds of people in this world, givers and takers! Losing my friends caused me to evaluate where I am going from here on out. It is good and healthy to evaluate the path that you are on from time to time throughout your life.
Many of our members are up in years and the older we get, the smaller our sphere of influence gets. A decision was made to contact many of our older members that we had not heard from in quite some time and let them know that we care and if there is anything they need, don’t hesitate to ask. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. One widow commented how touched she was that someone she didn’t personally know cared. Another’s spirits were raised that we took the time to check on him that he asked if there was anything he could do for us. Genuine concern for others is and always has been a life blood of this chapter.
Do you care? Would you have a few hours a month to help a widow or older member? Maybe just play a game of cards with someone or a game of chess or just talk with someone who hasn’t had anyone to talk to since their spouse died. I guarantee that while the one receiving the attention will appreciate it tremendously, you will actually benefit much more than you can imagine.
If any of this strike a chord with you, give me a call at 541-601-8467. I guarantee you that you won’t regret it.
Summer will be over before we even know it. Kids will be headed back to school and it won’t be long before we start thinking about what to get our loved ones for Christmas. What is on the horizon for the Rogue Chapter? Our annual chapter BBQ is later this month at Veteran’s Park in Medford next to the National Guard Armory and then planning starts for food baskets. We are still collecting, clipping and sending manufacture coupons out of the Sunday paper to troops overseas.
I recently returned from our 50th annual convention in Las Vegas. One huge program that has many in NCOA excited is our partnership with SnowBall Express. This is a program that provides for the children of our fallen brothers and sisters who have died since 9/11. Every year Snowball brings about 2000 kids and surviving parent or guardian to Dallas, Texas to be with other kids age 5-18 that have also lost a father or mother to the war. They get to be normal kids for a few days and the community of Dallas holds nothing back when it comes to treating these kids like VIPs. Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band perform every year for the kids. Terry Fator who performed at our recent convention is also a huge supporter of these kids. This is a program that can impact each of us just as significantly as it does these kids.
In the near future we are supposed to be provided lists of how many kids are in each chapter’s area. As a chapter we can help two ways. We can host a snowflake event where kids of the fallen can come together for a fun time. Some possible suggestions that have surfaced are take the kids on a Hells Gate boat trip or perhaps host a day trip to Crater Lake. These snowflake events are not fund raising events, but focus on letting the kids be with other kids like them and have some fun. We would need to either get donations or raise sufficient funds to pay the expenses of the kids and parents. Another option would be to raise funds to sponsor families to attend the Snowball event in Dallas. It costs about $500 per person to sponsor a child so the minimum it would cost for a child and parent is $1000. Some families have multiple children so costs rise depending on the size of the family.
There are some members of this chapter who joined strictly to support this project and I would venture to say there are many of you who would be willing to give a little time if you knew that a child here in Oregon who lost a mom or dad in Iraq or Afghanistan were benefiting from your gift of time. We are always looking for ideas and if this project triggers an idea for either a Snowflake event or sponsoring a family to Snowball in Dallas, please share your thoughts. I can be reached at email@example.com or you can drop a line to Rogue Chapter #1260, PO Box 5597, Central Point, OR 97502. I look forward to hearing from you.
The Rogue Chapter has a long history of making a difference, not just in southern Oregon, but in the lives of our members. A standard understood within the military community is that NCO’s and Petty Officer’s take care of their own. For over 25 years, when a member went through tough times, the Rogue Chapter was there for them. Food, help with things around the house when ill or just being a friendly shoulder to lean on when you need it. We are like a family.
How do we do it? Volunteer spirit has been the life blood of the Rogue Chapter since it was formed in the mid 1980’s. Each year over 20,000 hours are given up by our membership to help each other and our community. Some give a lot more than others because they are at a place in their life where they have time and others give a little when the opportunity presents itself or they are asked. An hour of quality time helping someone in need is just as valuable to the recipient of that time as someone who gives a 100 hours. Visiting someone in the hospital or a nursing home or delivering food baskets to families who may not know where there next meal is coming from are examples of real help given every day.
It has been said that today’s generation doesn’t have the same priorities as ours. Perhaps they have never been shown the real value of giving of themselves. It is our job to show them how they too can make a difference and truly come to understand that there is more to life than TV or video games. There is more to life than self. Helping others provides a satisfaction that is truly not understood until it is experienced. Teach our younger generations some of the valuable lessons that we learned as we grew up. Relying on our schools to teach this has not proven to be successful. Mentorship and leading by example has always proved to work from my experience. The government was never designed to take care of us and that is not what it is supposed to do.
Do you want to help make a difference, contact me and we will look for the right opportunity for you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.