Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you Baking GALS!!

To all my bakers for team JustAddNuts, I have heard from Jaime, Alex's wife and she gave me permission to post her letter. Apparently the first email she sent me was lost somewhere in cyber land, so this is the one she sent after we figured that out...you'll notice at the end that it has some comments about some of the earlier packages he received. I did tell her I couldn't claim ownership of the first packages but that mine and others were on the way. In the second note she sent, she says that Alex has set up a "sharing station" so that all the American soldiers passing through can grab some goodies as they go by. Jaime says Alex is loving this new duty of sharing our goodies! It sounds like everything got to him in great shape, and the only request he had was for ziplocks or more individual packaging to make the sharing easier. I think next time I send a package out I'll include a box of ziplocks in the mix, to make it easier for the soldiers to pack and take along.

I also want to take the time to thank all of you who baked packages to send out for Round Four. It was extremely successful for our team! I received pictures from some of you, which I'm trying to make into a collage of sorts and post here on the blog. It might take me a while to get that done though, considering my computer inadequacy and the time issues going on right now. I will try to have it done well before round Five starts!
Speaking of Round Five, mailing will take place from Dec 5-18, just in time for Christmas...so think about signing up for another round if you're able.

Here's Jaime's letter:

Hi Val,

My uncle Dennis asked me to contact you. I had sent a email a while back but you must not have received it, they are so easy to get wrong.. those email addresses. So, anyhow you sent a wonderful package to my husband SFC Alex Herrera in Iraq. He is greatly appreciative. Alex is a amazing man! He is such a kind loving caring person, sometimes it is hard for me to think of him as a soldier. He joined the US Army when he was twenty, he was a misguided young man at the time, I know I dated him then too...lol But still a special person none the less. I remember dropping him off at the bus for basic training and watching him walk away and crying all the way home, not knowing how many more times I would be dropping this man off to go somewhere. He was full time military for many years, a Gulf War veteran before he was 30. He joined the reserves, started attending college and we started our family. All was well until 911 which was when he really felt he needed to be involved. As God must have know he had this desire, he was deployed in 2004 to Iraq for a 18 month deployment. He returned home my same wonderful man, husband but secretly couldn't wait to go back. This was hard to understand even for me because I was never a Full time Army wife, but for some reason it is completely clear to me now. Alex is excellent at his job, he has skills that not every man has. He uses these skills at a time of need which is very important to him. He does his job so others don't have to. His primary job in all of his overseas tours, and man I think have lost count, is to train soldiers to protect themselves. He has trained American troops before heading into Iraq, which is so rewarding for him. A lot of these guys are young, scared and have not a lot of experience. So when they leave Alexs shooting range, they feel much more confident and secure with their weapons and have gained some real knowledge of what they are going to be headed into. His job title in Kuwait was a Tactics trainer. Currently in Iraq he is a "ADVISOR TO THE IRAQI ARMY". He teaches them how to teach their soldiers so they can protect their own country. Currently, he frequently gets American troops in for training as well, but his job title is advisor to Iraqi army. Ok this is the 4th tour, but he does get to come home during tours as well.

When he is home one of the first places we go to is St. Helen Michigan. It is like a retreat for us, a place our 2 boys just love as well. Up north is a quality time place for us. I also take the boys up frequently after their dad has left for a tour. They seem to acclimate better to dads departure there. I also have a ton of family that goes there, my awesome Uncle Dennis as you. Family is good for you in times like these. I could have never made it through these past few years if not for my family. Alex knows this as well, in some ways it is our family that allows him to do his job. He knows when we go up north Uncle Dennis and the rest of the family is watching out for his wife and kids, and that makes him a little more at ease with his job.

Well I hope this helps you understand the man you are supporting, it is just wonderful that people like you show support. He loved the packages and plans to share with other American soldiers. He really liked the Christmas lights, funny sometimes its the simple things. This is our second Christmas approaching that we will be apart, but hopefully the last. I have most frequently called this job a "calling" for my husband. He is a dedicated man as well as a wonderful father and husband and I am truly blessed to have him.

Thanks again, and may God bless you.

Jaime Burrell-Herrera

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