In order to calm your fears and expectations, I want you to know that you will PROBABLY not get a blog post or Amazon review today for a 2018 Dragon Award Finalist. I have started reading my next book, which is 'Warhammer' by Shayne Silvers, but I have serious doubts that I'm going to be ready to review it today.
Reason: "I have engaged in a great work, and I cannot come down" (Neh. 6:3).
What is this great work, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.
If you have been reading this blog for very long, you probably know that I am a veteran. Yup, I am Generation 3 of 4 (so far) of enlisted Army veterans, going back to WWI.
You may also know that my firstborn son represents Generation 4, although he is not the ONLY member of his generation in my family to serve. He's not fond of me telling his story, but you need to know this: He suited up, and he showed up, and he had a really bad day in 2013 at Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan. Consequently, he was medically retired a few years ago, and has spent much of the time since then, along with his wife, and kids, and friends, and medics, and some pretty fantastic veterans' groups, discovering how he can make a difference in the lives of others, after having been dealt a pretty bad hand.
And that has lead him to start a community-based group that is reaching out to service members who are deployed. He is concentrating at this point on people who, in civilian life, are cops, firefighters, and EMT types, Tomorrow, he will be assembling the first six packages to go out to them.
Each package is going to have three components: letters; Reminders Of Home; and personal care items. Some of the people may be stationed in air-conditioned barracks in rear-echelon areas; others might be way out in front operating in very small teams. Regardless, they will all receive the same three components in their packages.
Letters: these are going to be letters from people back home to remind the deployed individual that they are not forgotten. There is no standard format; only requirement is that they are meant to uplift and encourage.
ROH (Reminders of Home). These are some item that will be a tangible connection to home, something that the service member can hold in their hand, or put in a pocket. Books, keychains, whatever; it's an ROH.
Personal Care Items. These are MOSTLY going to be used by the troops deployed so far forward that they don't have access to regular showers and bathrooms. Hand sanitizers, wet wipes, that sort of thing.
My son knows that my daughter and I have a small, small, small business called 'The Chained Bullet' that sells recycled ammo, made into keyrings, zipper pulls, necklaces, whatever. He told me I was going to supply him with a set of keyrings made from a .30-06 round.
And so instead of reading this afternoon, I made these:
These eight .30-06 keychains are going to be shipped overseas tomorrow.
Cool, you say, but why does THAT matter?
It matters because in a week, or 10 days, or whenever I finish the Dragon Award series, and my son finalizes the arrangements and paperwork on his organization, you will be able to contribute to this outreach yourself! And I'll post the details on how that works, as soon as it's available. I can tell you that everything is going to be processed by the charitable corporation, so tax deductions can be taken for donations.
Some of the people reading this have offered me personalized copies of their books before, and I haven't been able to accept those, because it's a violation of the Terms of Service on Amazon for a reviewer to receive anything of value in exchange for a review. (The ONLY exception to that is the industry-standard practice of supplying a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.) Since an autograph or personal message increases the value of the book, I have not been able to accept those kind offers. However, anything sent in to go to the deployed troops will be run through the charitable organization, and tax deductions apply. And I'll be talking to people who are smarter than I am to make sure, BEFORE any requests are made, that everything is done properly.
Tomorrow, I expect to resume my Dragon Award series. Right now, I've got to get ready to go to church, and I have to go drop the keyrings off at my son's house.
Peace be on your household.