Volume LVIMAY/JUNE 2009Number 2

Letters From The Troops

Nov. 13, 2008
Steve,

I just wanted to send you a quick note thanking you for the calling card. While it may seem like a simple act, it is truly appreciated and will make getting in touch with friends and family more meaningful.

Please extend my thanks to your fine organization on my behalf. Also, let them know their troops are doing fine here and could not be prouder of the work we are doing here for the greatest nation on earth and for the most noble cause of defending freedom!

Paul D. Rauh
COL,MP
Deputy Commander

Dec. 3, 2008
Dear Sirs,

Thank you for sending a phone card to Sam. It arrived while he was home for some R and R. So your timing was perfect. He also appreciated the letter of support and understanding. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity.

Sincerely,
Pamela L. Lentz
Sam's Mom

18 Dec. 2008
Dear Mr. Gardner,

I just received the phone card that you sent in September 2008... Thank you very much for your gratitude and for keeping all of us who are deployed in your thoughts and prayers. My brother Greg and I communicate weekly, and today's technology allows me to speak with my family almost daily. Christmas is almost here and I believe this will be the toughest time for being away from home and family.

Thank you again for your caring and support of all of us who willingly serve our country.

God Bless,
Chris Latchford

Dear Mr. Gardner,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your very kind letter and the gift of a phone card that you sent to me here in our deployed location.

Communication with family back home is one of our most precious pleasures, and is absolutely vital to morale here. The Masons' assistance is more appreciated than you may know. I have used the card to speak with my wife, children, mom and dad, and my brothers over the holidays.

A truly wonderful Christmas gift!

It is my honor to be here, representing the U.S. and Pennsylvania, taking a small part in operations defending the People of the United States and avenging those aboard United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, Sept. 11, 2001.

Thank you to you and your brother Masons in PA for your ongoing support of deployed U.S. troops. We literally can not do it without the support of patriotic Americans on the home front. Know that your involvement has supported the most powerful air wing currently assembled on the planet. Its mission is to provide air power for ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.

My very best wishes to the Masons for a peaceful and fulfilling New Year.

Sincerely,
James A. Dauber, Major, United States Air Force
379th Expeditionary Air Wing "The Grand Slam Wing"

TO THE MASONS OF PENNSYLVANIA

Please accept my heartfelt thanks to your organization for the AT&T Phone Calling Card I received prior to my deployment to Southwest Asia this past September. Before deploying, each member of my unit, the 21st Air Mobility Operations Squadron, at McGuire AFB, NJ was given a calling card generously donated by your organization.

This calling card was extremely beneficial during my four month deployment because I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and the birthdays of my 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. This was my first deployment where my kids would know that their dad was gone for a long time.

Through your generous donation, I was able to make phone calls to both my children on their birthday, as well as the holidays I missed, without having to worry about the financial burden these calls would have. Additionally, I was able to call my parents, my sister, and my grandmother, who had to be hospitalized for an illness while I was deployed.

The calling card the Masons of Pennsylvania donated helped me maintain a connection with my loved ones during my deployment, freeing my mind to concentrate on the task at hand and allowing me to perform my duties better. Thus, your act of generosity had a direct impact on mission accomplishment here in Southwest Asia.

Thank you for your patriotism and willingness to support all the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are deployed overseas. This support reminds us every day that what we do is important, and members of the Masons of Pennsylvania are behind us 100%!

Thanks again!
With sincere thanks and gratitude,
Jay Updegraff, Lt Col USAF

Greetings from A-TRP, 5-1 CAV
FOB Caldwell, Iraq

R.W. Grand Master Stephen Gardner,

I want to thank you for the phone card; I would like you to know that I have allowed soldiers who are going on leave take it and use it when they get to Kuwait or back to the states to call home. Small victories are made with the smallest notion of thanks, and soldiers smiling when they call home is a great feeling. Thank you for all your support.

Very Respectfully,
Heath Major

19 Dec. 08
Sir,

I received your letter and the calling card. I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness. I also wanted to let you know, when my deployment is over, I will pass on this calling card to a deployed military member; that way, your generosity can be shared with others.

Thanks again,
Sincerely,
Mark Bucci

19 January 2009
R.W. Grand Master,

Thank you for your nice letter and the enclosed phone card you sent. I am now safely back in the United States and catching up on things. Please excuse my delay in sending this note. Your letter and the phone card were a great morale booster for me.

Moreover, thank you for the support you and The Grand Lodge have provided to all the Brothers in Pennsylvania who have been mobilized and deployed.

Thanks again for thinking of me!

Sincerely and fraternally,
"Jim" James W. Rinier, (member #410, W.K. Bray)

Mr. Gardner,

As the parents of Clay and Ty, we wish to thank you for the phone cards our sons have used since their deployment. Please thank all those who have been involved in the generous endeavor.

Again, Thanks
Merle and Sandy Ammerman

31 Jan. 2009
To the Brothers of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of PA,

I just wanted to thank you for your generosity in sending a pre-paid phone card to me while in Iraq. I apologize for the delay in writing the thank you note... time had been a very scarce and precious resource for me.

I commanded a military police battalion taken with securing over 3,500 Iranian terrorists in the Iraqi city of Ashraf. It's a very remote, often forgotten outpost, in eastern Iraq. The nearest big base is about 1½ hours away by convoy, so we didn't have access to a lot of the "luxuries" that soldiers at the larger bases did. One of the things we were in desperate need of was phone cards for my Soldiers to call home with. I have donated this card to my MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) Center to pass on to a needy soldier to call his family.

Again, thanks for your support. I think the world of your organization...I first became introduced to your organization, in a very personal sense, when I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks several years ago at the Elizabethtown facility. I was a police officer then, and your organization contributed a lot of money to the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and that's where I received my training.

Anyway, my year in Iraq is almost over - I'm at an air base in Kuwait awaiting our plane to take us home.

Thanks again for your wonderful support, and may God bless.

Mark Martin,
Lieutenant Colonel, MP
Commanding

Hello and GREETINGS TO ALL G.L. OFFICERS;

I, Robert L. Baker, and the 328th BSB,1/111th HHC, A,B,C,D AND THE REST OF THE 56 Brigade would like to thank you for the phone cards you sent us to use in Iraq while we are stationed over there. You made a lot of people happy to be able to call home. People come up to me and say thank you and your friends for the cards I tell them you are welcome for it. I also tell them which Grand Lodge they came from. Again thank you very much.
TRAVEL LIGHT AND MAY G.A.O.T.U. BE WITH U 4 LIFE

Robert L. Baker Jr. 32
William Scrugges Military Lodge #147
Great Lakes, ILL. P.H.A.

Department of the Army
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team
Headquarters, 1st Battalion 111th Infantry
APO AE 09378
March 25, 2009

Dear R.W. Grand Master,

I want to start off by saying thank you. The support we've received from home has been overwhelming. Still, I was particularly touched by your letter. I have always respected the work your organization has done for our community. Even now I feel I should be thanking you, not the other way around.

The phone cards will not go to waste. I've given them to a few soldiers that need them more than I do. Because I work on the staff, I have phone and internet access more often than most. The soldiers fighting the fight can use the cards to call home when they get a chance to come in from the field.

Please accept my deepest thanks for your concern and support. I cannot begin to explain how much it lifts a soldier's spirits when they get something as simple as a letter from home.

Stay safe and again, thank you.

Brian A. Truesdale
SGT, PAARNG
Human Resources NCO

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Mr. Brooks,

I want to send you a personal thank you for the phone cards you and your organization have provided for the deployed troops. These deployments are so much easier to get through when you can stay in touch with family, and my wife and I have been able to do that because of your generosity. It is a pleasure to serve with great Americans like SMSgt John Lyon, and I have relied upon his friendship and leadership while he has done an outstanding job of taking care of a 600-member squadron. Keep supporting the troops - it makes a difference! Please pass on to all the people involved our heartfelt thanks.

Capt Bobby Buckner
Maintenance Operations Officer
379th EAMXS

Dec. 17, 2008
Mr. Gardner,

Thank you for the phone card! I really appreciate it and keep it with me for whenever I need it. It's great to call home and not have to worry about minutes. It's also good to see people who care about soldiers over here.

Thanks again,
1LT Aaron Oswald

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