A wonderful event took place today just outside of Lansing, MI. Members of the 1073rd Maintenance Company, Michigan Army National Guard returned by bus to their families for the Christmas holidays. The 1073rd had been at Camp Shelby, MS conducting post-mobilization training preparing to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan and were given leave for the holidays. The problem is that they had no way to get home. The soldiers and their families looked into chartering buses but the cost was more than they could afford.
At this point the Christmas spirit kicked in. Kellie Dean of Lansing’s Dean Transportation offered a bare bones price for two luxury buses. State Representative Brian Calley of Portland started a fundraiser to take contributions to bring the soldiers home to their families. VFW Post 4406 in Belding collected the donations. The generosity of the Greater Lansing community was overwhelming. They needed approximately $11,000. Overnight they had collected $14,000 and the final tally was $43,000! The remainder of the funds will be used to support the needs of the families while the soldiers are deployed.
We are well aware that the Michigan economy is hurting and a lot of people are suffering; however, one of the donors wrote a letter to John Schneider at the Lansing State Journal -
“Your story hit me like a ton of bricks. I am an unemployed medical receptionist. I have been out of work for a year. I have gone on lots of interviews, but no one wants someone in their 40s in their front office apparently. I have earned a paycheck since I was 14. I attended LCC and have kept up with the medical clerical field while looking for employment … This has been a real self-confidence killer.
My son, a former scout in the U.S. Army, was nearly killed in Afghanistan seven years ago. The American Red Cross military services helped us tremendously.
My unemployment extension barely covers rent and utilities but I am going to send $50 to help a soldier come home – a drop in the bucket compared to what some are giving … ”
What a story! Even when life continues to deal this woman a bad hand, she is willing to give to help others! This is the true lesson of Christmas!