Monday, June 18, 2007

Dallas, Part II

I wanted to tell you a few more things about Dallas and the wonderful people who volunteer their time there. I forgot to mention, when our planed landed from Kuwait the airport fire department was there firing their water cannons over the planes in welcome. It was pretty cool.

As we checked in this morning on our way back to theater, there were several USO volunteers answering our questions, telling us what we needed to know and making sure we were comfortable. There was an office full of books, magazines, snacks, water, soda, candy, etc., all for the taking. We were directed to the USO waiting room that had cell phones, land line phones, internet connections, food, drinks, movies, etc. Since it was pretty crowded I found a place where I could sit and plug my computer in.

This morning as I was writing my blog entries a USO volunteer asked me if I’d like a wireless internet card. Of course I said “yes.” She took me to her office and gave me card which gave me 24 hours of unlimited internet access. Cool!

As we were waiting to board the plane, several USO volunteers moved through the soldiers pushing carts, dispensing snacks and water. I was able to chat with a couple of them for a few minutes and found out more information about these amazing volunteers.

As I suspected, the reception committee that I told you about earlier is there 7 days a week, 365 days a year for as long as there are soldiers coming through Dallas on leave. Tomorrow (June 12th, 2007) the 500,000th soldier is expected to pass through and there was an even bigger reception planned. These men and women volunteer countless hours every week to make sure that all the service members going or coming through Dallas are taken care of. A couple of elderly women, known as the “kissing Grandmas” are there every single day to dole out hugs and kisses to the soldiers. I had told one of the volunteers about Seth’s graduation and she called one of the “Grandmas” over and had me tell her the story. She got tears in her eyes as I told her the story and after I was finished, she asked me if she could give me a hug and a kiss. I felt quite honored.

Like I’ve said many times, I can’t believe the support that we receive from hundreds of strangers. I’m so impressed, awed and humbled by their willingness to serve. It makes me realize how much more I can and should do to serve, not only our service members but those who are in need all around me.

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