Friday, October 30, 2009

Love and Support From Santa's Elves is in the News again...

Thank you to all who have been supporting our Marines and Sailors through our Love and Support From Santa's Elves project! But, hey, it's not over yet; there is still time to help out and we still need many items. Just be sure to send your donations to Roxanne by November 15th. Details are found on the left sidebar. An updated count of items received will be posted there as well again soon.

Enjoy these two stories from the Times News that show how from young to old, every one in Joan's community seem to be supporting the 2/2 Marines.

Students collect items for troops


Students at Panther Valley Elementary School collected items to send overseas to our servicemen in time for Christmas. The items will be sent to the Marines and Sailors there. Joan and John Kennedy of Summit Hill have a son, John stationed there and it is their hope to bring comfort, smiles and a bit of home to all of them. Representing the school are a student from each grade. Left to right, front are Amber Schwaoyer (first grade), Lyndsey Larkin (kindergarten), Shawn Hoben ( second grade), Sarah Hood (third grade). Behind are Abigail Hoben (fourth grade) and Aaron Rohlfing (fifth grade). The items are ready for delivery to the Kennedy home for shipment.

From The Times News, Inc.

Knitters busy making helmet liners

AMY ZUBEK/TIMES NEWS The women of the Lehighton Hi-Rise Craft Club recently presented Joan Kennedy, left, with a monetary donation to help cover the expenses of the Christmas package campaign for 1,000 U.S. Marines and Sailors in the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines, serving in Afghanistan. Presenting the donation to Kennedy is, front from left, Elsie Cales, Doris Beyer, and Georgene Binder. Back, Laura Bailey and Marian Jones.
AMY ZUBEK/TIMES NEWS The women of the Lehighton Hi-Rise Craft Club recently presented Joan Kennedy, left, with a monetary donation to help cover the expenses of the Christmas package campaign for 1,000 U.S. Marines and Sailors in the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines, serving in Afghanistan. Presenting the donation to Kennedy is, front from left, Elsie Cales, Doris Beyer, and Georgene Binder. Back, Laura Bailey and Marian Jones.

Residents united in a mission to help the troops


It's amazing what a small community can accomplish.

Over the last few months, Joan and John Kennedy of Summit Hill, have been asking residents of Carbon County and the surrounding areas for their help in gathering enough supplies to fill 1,000 care packages that will be sent to 800 U.S. Marines, and 200 Navy Sailors of the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines, stationed in Afghanistan. They are the parents of Lance Cpl. John Kennedy Jr., a local Marine who is currently serving his second deployment in Afghanistan.

The group the Kennedys belong to, which is made up of the military men and women's family members from across the country, asked for items such as hand-knitted helmet liners, chap-stick, disposable razors, baby wipes in soft containers, Colgate Wisp disposable toothbrushes, and monetary donations to cover the cost of shipping the packages.

The reason for the campaign is to bring holiday cheer to the Marines and Sailors during their time away from home.

"They will be a world away from home and far from everyday necessities during the holidays," Joan said previously. "It is our hope to bring comfort, smiles and a bit of home to them."

To date, Joan said there has been overwhelming support for the Christmas package campaign in the area.

They have collected 80 helmet liners through the help of kind-hearted area knitters and expect to receive another 20 by the time their deadline of Nov. 4 rolls around. These will be added to the liners other group members have been collecting.

If the group does not get the 1,000 liners it needs, the Citizen Support for America's Military program, a volunteer-based program out of Illinois that supports the U.S. Military year-round, has offered to donate the rest.

Joan added that one knitter alone made 24 liners and is still working on more. Another knitter decided to help because she learned how to knit through the Red Cross when she was in high school because they were knitting items for the troops serving in World War II.

The Kennedys have also collected over $1,000 from area organizations to help cover the postage costs, which is expected to be over $1,200; and purchase the remaining items that are needed to fill the packages.

On Monday afternoon, Joan traveled to the Lehighton Hi Rise to meet with the area craft club, which donated some of the proceeds of the craft items they make and sell.

During the presentation, the women explained how this campaign touched their hearts, and they felt they wanted to contribute in some way.

At first, the club wanted to try to knit the helmet liners, but time constraints didn't allow them to start the project. So in its place, they gave a donation to help cover some expenses.

Most of the women in the group all have a military background, whether it be that their husbands or sons served in the military or they served as nurses during war time.

Other area organizations that also contributed monetary donations include area churches, Pencor, and the Black Diamond Parrot Head Club; as well as many individuals.

On Thursday and Friday, Joan, who is a teacher at the Panther Valley High School, also picked up items that the Panther Valley Elementary and Middle schools collected as a schoolwide project. The students also made Christmas cards to send to the troops.

"It's been an amazing outpouring from individuals collecting items and monetary donations," Joan said of the support everyone has given the group. "Several times a week we have received checks in the mail from people we know and perfect strangers. Thank you to everyone who helped us."

Joan said that Roxanne Robertson, the project coordinator, who lives in the Midwest, was amazed by the support of the residents of the community.

"They (the group) continually comment on how we live in such an awesome community with so many caring and giving people," she said. "I certainly agree and am very honored to live among such awesome people."

The deadline for collection of donations is Nov. 4 because the Kennedys need to mail everything to Robertson, who will then assemble all care packages and mail them to Afghanistan.

Anyone who wishes to give a monetary donation before the deadline can do so by contacting the Kennedys at (570) 645-5709 or drop it off at their home at 12 E. Walter St., Summit Hill. Checks should be made payable to Roxanne Robertson.

This is the second time the Kennedys have partnered with families from across the United States to support their son's battalion.

Last year, the group sent hundreds of care packages to the Marines serving in Iraq.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It Is Well

Here is a story told on video (click the link to play video). This song never ceases to encourage and inspire me when I am overwhelmed by what at first glance seems to be an unbearable situation. This video tells the story behind the song describing the circumstances under which it was written. It is the underlying story told in this video that makes the lyrics that follow so powerful. (The lyrics, written by Horatio Spafford and a video of Wintley Phipps singing the song are posted below.)

Many of you are quite familiar with this song and have heard this story before. I thought now might be a good time to be reminded that it is possible for it to be well with our souls even under the circumstances we are facing as our Marines and Sailors deploy to Afghanistan.

If you have the time, watch both videos consecutively. Total time for videos combined is 8 minutes 50 seconds. The second video below has a bit of a lead-in as the singer introduces how he came to work for Billy Graham. I had no way to remove it and I found it interesting anyway. Unfortunately he doesn't sing all the verses, but I'm letting that slide...this guy has the smoothest voice I think I've ever heard, and can he ever hold a note! I hope you find this a comforting reminder of God's power which overrides all else with His eternal love and compassion.

It Is Well With My Soul

Lyrics by Horatio Spafford & Music by Phillip Bliss

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin—not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so”—it is well with my soul.


May it be well with your soul as your Marine or Sailor deploys.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Santa's Elves have been very busy...

Well, it has happened... and sooner than we anticipated. The great Knitted Helmet Liner goal has been met! Woo hoo!

I know... amazing isn't it? Well, not when you consider the remarkable people we have connected with the 2/2 family. Their reach is far and wide and incredibly productive as well. Roxy has an explanation below of what has transpired to bring us to this point. A heartfelt "thank you" to each and every knitter experienced and novice, who heard our cry for help and took up their needles (and knitting lessons in many cases) on behalf of the Marines and Sailors of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. We are so grateful. It's especially exciting because now we can focus all that excitement and fabulous determination on collecting the other items on our list for our "boys" Christmas packages. It's great to see the plan coming together.

And now a word from Roxanne:

Great News: There is this company that I found called Citizen Sam. They have agreed to supply us with the rest of the helmet liners that we are short of. The founder of this company has been sending helmet liners to the troops for about 4 years now. She is the mother of two Marines herself. She has very strict guidelines for the liners. They must be 100% wool, and must be knitted. So we no longer have to worry about whether or not we will have all of the helmet liners needed. We will meet goal for this. We can now maybe shift our focus on other items such as socks, wisps and wipes. So whether we need 100 helmet liners or 500 helmet liners, she will provide these to our guys for us.

The HugsProjectKC gave me 200 of helmet liners.......HOWEVER, THEY WERE NOT THE SAMES ONES WE ARE SENDING. They were just skull caps basically, so I gave them back and told them we would not be able to use them. I did sincerely thank them for their efforts however. Laila is still committing to the 500 hugs and 500 kisses. Our guys will be able to use these as a way to keep cool, or they can be used as hand warmers also. She is still doing the care package drive for our items. I should know more about what she has collected come the Oct 17 meeting.

So there you have it. Mission accomplished. Now that we are shifting our focus to the other items on the list, please take a minute to refresh your memory regarding what we are collecting. Items are listed on the left sidebar (as well as a list of how many we have collected so far of each). There is a donation letter and list available there to print and hand out or to send by email to get the word out. There is also a thank you letter there you can send from the 2/2 family to those you know who have responded to your request to donate items.

Thanks again to all who have knitted and encouraged others to do so. You have been an inspiration to me and so many others as well. Please go ahead and send your completed liners to Roxanne Robertson at the address in the left-hand sidebar (also on the donation letter).

Our deadline is a little over a month away. I hope all of Santa's little Elves won't mind changing focus and staying busy collecting the rest of the items on the list. I look forward to seeing what you all will do for our Marines and Sailors in the days to come!