Spirit of America Update

This is an e-mail from Spirit of America. Please help the cause.

**A nonprofit organization headed by Joe Robert is putting together a great welcome home party at Camp Pendleton no April 1 for Marines now returning from Iraq. This will be a terrific event to thank the Marines (and their families) who have been stationed mainly in Al Anbar province since last summer. These include the Marines that fought in Falluja, those that managed the Iraqi construction apprentice training program where Spirit of America donated tools, those that set up the women’s sewing centers where we provided sewing machines and many others.

The party will feature big-name acts including Destiny’s Child, KISS and Ted Nugent. The Master of Ceremonies is Cedric the Entertainer. The talent is donating their time but there are hard costs for staging and production. Please consider helping out with the costs of the party with a contribution at: https://secure.supportthecorps.org/secure/donatepage.htm. It would be great if all Spirit of America donors could make a $5 or $10 contribution. The numbers of people supporting the effort are as important as the dollars raised.

After delays due largely to violence in the parts of Iraq where Spirit of America has provided the greatest support, a number of projects are in progress. With your support the following items on their way to the Marines in Al Anbar province:

  • 40 Polaroid instant cameras and 725 packs of instant film (as part of “Operation Snapshot”)

  • 7,500 children’s watches (donated by Timex).

  • 6,000 soccer balls.

  • 4,554 pairs of children’s athletic shoes.

It looks like these items will be arriving at just the right time. The first three items will be given by Marines to children in Al Anbar province. The Marines will take pictures of Iraqi families and give them as gifts of friendship. Assuming things go well with the cameras and film, because of your previous generous support we will send over 192 more cameras and 3840 packs of film. This will provide 1 camera for every platoon (incl. 30% spares) and 20 packs of film (200 photos) per camera. So, thanks to you, there will be 45,000 photographs of Iraqi families and children like the one below in Iraqi homes pretty soon.

After many starts and stops, our School Partners program is getting off the ground. More information on that soon. The US Embassy will be hosting orphans from Baghdad on April 1 - which is a day in Iraq and the Middle East recognizing the plight of orphans. Spirit of America is providing tote bags filled with gifts (toys, clothing, shoes) that will be given to the children by US Embassy personnel. The tote bags are imprinted with our logo and the message “A gift of friendship from the American people” in English and Arabic.

LtCol Jeff Walsh, the Commanding Officer at Fort Tal Afar in Mosul, Iraq has identified a need and we can help. There are 17 Americans and 300 Iraqi soldiers at Fort Tal Afar. The Fort was built in the 40s by the British. It served as a prison in the Iran/Iraq war. Conditions are bad, to put it mildly. Walsh wants to refurbish and equip a recreational area. He says, “Being an Iraqi soldier during these tumultuous times is very demanding on their minds as well as their bodies. It is imperative we make the Fort an enjoyable duty station so these soldiers can relax and enjoy themselves after a long day (or night).”

This is a great project that we should support: American soldiers helping the Iraqi soldiers who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in bringing security and peace to Iraq. This project will strengthen the bonds between the Americans and Iraqis and improve the morale and performance of the Iraqi soldiers. The budget for this project is $15,000. The funds will buy building materials and recreation gear (ping pong tables, weights, etc.). Following is a photo of Iraqi and American soldiers at Fort Tal Afar. If you can contribute, please go to: https://www.spiritofamerica.net/projects/84

We received a tremendous response to our email about job and volunteer opportunities (https://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/about/488), so many people with very impressive backgrounds. To those who replied our apologies that we have not been timely in our response. We are reviewing every email and resume and we have retained some help on the human resources side so we’ll be moving more quickly. You will hear from us by the end of next week at the latest.

Our next message will include an update on Friends of Democracy and the Arabic blogging tool. Things are going very well with those projects. In the meantime if you’d like to poke around some of the Arabic blogs being developed in Iraq, go to: https://www.friendsofdemocracy.net. These blogs provide a safe and secure platform for Iraqis to share ideas and express themselves freely without fear of being targeted by terrorists. Some of the blog posts are being translated and posted at https://www.friendsofdemocracy.info.

As always, we thank you. All the things we’re talking about in this message are made possible by your generous support. We know it is making a difference.

All the best,
Jim Hake and the Spirit of America team

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pps - you can always find Spirit of America updates at https://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog