Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Support the Troops? Hold A Bake Sale!

Written by IraqVet4Peace from Bake Sales for Body Armor

When my friend Tammara’s husband, Sean left for Iraq in December, the protective inserts for his flak jacket were a size too small and he did not have side or shoulder protecting armor. He was assured that he would receive the proper parts when he got to Kuwait. However, after reaching Baghdad in early January, he reported that though he had received the proper size front and back inserts, he had manned a .50 caliber machine gun on the road march into Iraq without side or shoulder protecting armor. He asked Tammara if she could figure out how to get it for him. While she was researching, the New York Times reported that a Pentagon study had found 74 out of 93 Marines killed between March 2003 and June 2005 could have been saved by the very armor Sean did not have. “I was frantic,” she says, “All I could think about was something horrible happening and knowing that I could have done something to stop it, but just didn’t know how.” She started a congressional investigation and began planning a bake sale to raise awareness to not only her husband’s plight, but the plight of other soldiers in Iraq. I got involved in the project from the beginning, helping to set up the website, Bake Sales for Body Armor and doing research about the armor shortage. What we found was that there is a larger need. Soldiers needing armor, medical supplies, cookware (because they are on missions when the chow hall is open and unable to eat there often,) and a variety of other unmet health and comfort needs.

Shortly before the first sale, the Army announced that it would ship more armor to Iraq and Sean reported that he was issued his armor. But, knowing what we knew about situation now, we can’t stop. “I know that no one in America loves their soldier any less than I love mine,” Tammara has said. Soldiers are continuing to sign up on our list, so we are moving forward. Helena, MT held the first bake sale on February 11, and raised over $1,300! In the following days over $800 was raised via our website.

This project is a real opportunity for communities to “Support the Troops,” like all the little magnets say. So what are you waiting for? Cruise on over to http://www.bakesalesforbodyarmor.org/ and register to hold a bake sale in your community. We have step by step instructions and are happy to help in any way we can. Though Tammara and I are both staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, we have an obligation to take care of our soldiers both before and after they get home. Together we can make a difference.