Hopefully you have already decided where your Thanksgiving dinner is going to be held, and you are working on the setting for your Christmas festivities, but not all of us have the ability to make such plans for the impending holidays. Having had the distinct… "privilege"… of being away from home for a back-to-back Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can personally attest to just how much it sucks to miss out on those festive occasions by way of being stuck out in the middle of the ocean, or the middle of the desert, or some other "middle of $nowhere", courtesy of the United States military.
However, you know what makes those days a lot less sucky? Care packages from home. For the "small boys" in the Navy, mail call comes every 2-4 weeks, in ideal circumstances, and sailors look forward to the prospect of a little something from home with a fervor you would have to personally witness to believe. However, not all sailors’ families are able to send them very much or do it very often, and not all of them have families at home that are able to support them in that fashion, which is where some positively outstanding organizations step in.
During my last deployment, I volunteered for Any Sailor, a program that bypasses the problem of good-willed people no longer being able to mail packages to literally, "Any Sailor, USS Thatship, etc."; instead, the packages intended for my ship were sent to me by name, and I broke out some of it for the wardroom and the majority for my division to distribute amongst themselves and their enlisted brethren. That way the folks at home who did not personally know any servicemen could still help out, and the sailors who did not have folks at home sending them things could still get something – a win/win by all accounts. If you know any deployed or soon-deploying military folks, I would strongly recommend their volunteering for this program – they have arrangements set up for every armed force.
Another amazing organization – and the one we are going to focus on today – is Soldiers’ Angels. You probably know this organization already, but they have sent out hundreds of thousands of care packages, over 25,000 support backpacks for wounded troops returning to the States, over 6,000 voice-activated laptops for wounded troops (through a subsidiary program most gunbloggers already know), and so forth. Of course, all of that unending support of our military forces takes money, and that is where you are coming in.
Courtesy of the wonderful folks at Simon and Schuster, I now have three copies of the soon-to-be-released thriller, Soft Target, written by Stephen Hunter as a sequel to his Dead Zero. I will let the wordsmiths at the publishing house give you the rundown:
New York Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter is back with SOFT TARGET (S&S, 12/6/11)—a breakneck thriller brimming with his trademark action and masterful plotting, as ex-Marine sniper Ray Cruz (whom we met in Dead Zero), confronts a group of murderous terrorists who’ve laid siege to the Mall of America. It starts out as a simple shopping trip with his fiancée. But suddenly, retired marine sergeant Ray Cruz is in the middle of the softest target of all, a huge emporium outside Minneapolis where a self-styled “Mumbai Brigade” has come to bring massive death to the heartland.
Hunter flashes over the events as if in real time: the assembly of the killer team composed of terrorists from one of the world’s hellholes, but led by a nihilistic insider who knows the mall backwards and forwards and has taken over the security software as well as the vast building and 1,000 hostages; the politics of SWAT as officials argue over tactics outside while the killing goes on inside; the panic in the halls of the death zone, as hostages are herded to an amusement park. As the clock ticks on, the terrorists begin to execute their captives. But they don’t know Ray Cruz is in the building…
I am keeping one of those to read, but I obviously do not really need the other two; so what do you need to do to snag a copy? Here are your options:
1. Every five dollars you donate directly to Soldiers’ Angels nets you one shot at the books.
2. Every five dollars you spend in their Dollar Days or Amazon shops (where the products are shipped directly to them) gets you one shot.
3. Every five dollars you spend in the Angels’ Store for any product that is shipped to "ANY Hero", "ANY Wounded Soldier", or "A SPECIFIC Soldier" earns you one shot.
Just email me ("linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net") the receipt of the donations/purchases (screenshot or the email itself, anonymized however you like, but still somehow identifiable), and I will number them sequentially as they come in. On 01JAN12, I will hit up Random.org and have it generate two numbers for the books.
But wait, there is more! Just for the fun of it, I am throwing in two batches of two of my new Eastern Tennessee Monster Hunter International patches, and will be generating additional numbers for those.
To clarify, winners will be drawn for each of the two books, and each of the two batches of patches, resulting in four winners… so far. If I am able to organize more prizes, those will be drawn independently too.
So let us recap – support a great organization by helping them recover from supporting our servicemen and women over the holidays, and maybe win an apparently pretty-darned-good book or some high-speed-low-drag tactical patches. I see no downside there!
(With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I would definitely appreciate some additional publicity for this little fundraiser/contest; I will be sure to post about it again after the vacation, but any help would be good!)
(Additionally, if you or your organization would like to donate something to this fundraiser, I would be very interested in hearing from you – please drop me a line at "linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net".)
(Dear FTC: Go away. Simon and Schuster kindly provided these books to me, one to review, and two to do with as I pleased. The patches I paid for myself. Go get a real job.)