Every year I work with several other people and organize a large clothing and donation drive for the wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed Medical Center (WRMC) in D.C. It is a great event. All of these guys are having to transition out of the military (due to their injury) and into a civilian career. Many of the people who attend this event are with companies that are willing to invest time and money into the soldiers to train them for a new career. As you know a new civilian career requires suits, not military uniforms. The main goal of this event is to get gently used suits for the soldiers so they can transition into a new career.
Last night we had over 400 people attend (a lot of them career military) the event and we had an outpouring of donations from suits to gift cards. We had about 35 soldiers from WRMC show up, some of them with their family. The best part of the evening is when the soldiers go shopping. It is really funny to see these soldiers shopping for suits and all these volunteers trying to find them shirts and ties that match the suits. The volunteers are measuring the soldiers and asking them about what they are looking for in a suit. We had 24 large wardrobe boxes stuffed with suits. Believe it or not, last year we ran out of suits within 6 months.
It was a great event and I really enjoy talking to the soldiers. The one thing I realized last night is I must keep getting older because these soldiers keep looking younger! I also want to thank my friends who came out and helped and volunteered their time. I hope you enjoyed yourself.
The one hard part about the whole evening was driving home. For the last four years, every time I was driving out of the parking lot of the Army Navy Country Club I would get on my cell phone and call Julie. I would relay to her the conversations I had with the soldiers and how much fun I had at the event. Last night I got in my car, started to grab the phone and remembered that I could not call Julie anymore. It was rough. However, I did have a smile on my face when I went to sleep last night. We collected $33,000 in cash and gift cards. Notice the Three’s.