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Supporting the Troops - (7/5/2007)

Websites to “Support the Troops”
During the first Gulf War, several of my friends from school were in the reserves and were activated to fight the Iraqis. CNN reported that once the soldiers were deployed, they were faced with massive downtime and were restricted to their base due to the travel limitations set by the Saudi government. I am a voracious reader and at the beginning of the Gulf War, I had a closet full of paperback books. Books that were not being used. So instead of selling them at the used book store, I packed them up in small care packages and sent them out to all the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen I had addresses for.   Within a few weeks, I ran out of books before I ran out of addresses. Friends and family members began donating their paperback books and in the end, over 1000 books were sent to the Gulf.

Treats for Troops was founded in early 2003 by Denver business woman Deborah Crane, who was determined to make it safe and simple for every American to send packages and messages of support to our men and women in uniform year round. Since the Treats for Troops Gift Shops opened in June of 2003, friends, family members, groups, organizations and individual sponsors have sent over twenty tons of treats to American soldiers through Treats for Troops.   Friends and family members tell us they love shopping in our Gift Shops, where they can choose from dozens of themed packages or hundreds of individual items, all selected after lots of input from soldiers and family members. Individuals, organizations and groups who don’t personally know anyone in the military, but want to show their support can sponsor soldiers through our unique Foster-A-Soldier Program. Sponsors can choose their soldiers by branch of service, home state or gender.
Any Soldier Inc. started as a simple family effort to help our son, Army Sergeant Brian Horn, who was one of the 1,000 soldiers who parachuted into Northern Iraq on March 26th, 2003. We knew his unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was living under very rough conditions, and we were sending Brian care packages as often as we could. We wanted to help the soldiers who were with Brian, so his father, himself a 20-year Army veteran, started this web site on August 26th, 2003, and asked friends and neighbors to help send their support. HERE is the original web page posted that day. The idea caught on, fast. By Christmas Eve 2003 the site looked like THIS. The support was massive during the holidays, and many requests came to us to support other military units. On January 1st, 2004, we did just that. At the time, we projected that we would have 50 volunteer contact soldiers by Christmas. We were wrong, by June 2nd, 2004, we had our first 100, and 3 days short of a year we had 1,000! As of now we have 3,601!!           

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