Military
A soldier in Iraq cannot see your ribbon,
Or the flag at your front door.
But a letter they hold in their hands,
To them means so much more.
  (Liam Sweeny)

  • Navy SEALs have been caught using drugs.  Navy SEALs are one of the most elite forces, but there is a “growing” drug problem.   Some have tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy,” said a SEAL. “That’s a problem.”

    The Navy’s Special Operations is a population that is supposed to be elite performers, all with classifications, to where they have national security information and responsibilities.  “That’s dangerous to my teammates,” reported one SEAL.  So why do SEALs take drugs? You might think it was due to the stress of high-risk operations, but that’s not what Capt. Jamie Sands said, the commander of 900 SEALs based on the East Coast.  “They think it is OK, because they’ve seen other people do it.  They think their teammates won’t turn them in. They think it’s kind of the cool thing to do.”  That is selfish to put their teammates lives at risk.  They will be caught and kicked off the teams.  (“Navy Seal Drug use “staggering,” investigation finds,” CBS News, April 11, 2017)

Statistics
  • School counselors are seeing growing signs of strain on the 220,000 American children who have at least one parent in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Many have a parent on a 2nd or 3rd deployment.  (National Military Families Association)

  • Nearly 1 service member commits suicide every day in our nation.  154 soldiers have committed suicide in the first 159 days of 2012 - that is 17% more than the same time in 2011, and more than the total number killed in action in Afghanistan so far this year.  (Pentagon Report, Today Show, June 8, 2012) 

  • Unwanted sexual conduct among servicewomen.  The Pentagon’s figures (May 2013) show sexual assaults are on the rise in the military.  The Pentagon released new figures showing a continuing rise in sexual assaults in the military.  A 6% increase from 3,192 (in 2011) to 3,374 reports of sexual assault in fiscal year 2012 (compared to the previous year).  Estimates of the actual numbers of what is a notoriously under-reported crime go much higher.  According to Pentagon figures an estimated 26,000 service women experienced unwanted sexual contact – up from 19,300 two years ago (2010)—a number the Pentagon says is unacceptable.    (CBS Evening News, May 6, 2013) 

  • Sexual assaults in the military are up sharply.  There were more than 3,500 complains reported from October 2012 through June 2013.  That is nearly a 50% increase over the same period a year earlier.  ("Reports of Military Sexual Assault Rise Sharply,” by Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times, November 7, 2013)
What You Can Do
  • Donate phone cards or cash to help our troops call home, and to help military families stay connected.
  • Acknowledge, with gratitude, our military personnel, and thank those who you see in uniform for their service.
  • Adopt a soldier.  Write monthly letters, send cards for holidays and birthdays, send a picture of you or your group, and send clipped articles from a local newspaper in the soldier’s home town.  
  • Businesses can show their support of our troops by offering a discount or special service to military personnel.  This can be anything from a percentage off all purchases, to a “buy one get one free” offer, to a special gift item.  Make this a special, substantial offer to show your appreciation for the significant sacrifices being made by so many.  Your company name and offer may be added to a resource list that will be made available to all military families throughout the Inland Northwest on our Chamber of Commerce’s web site.  Offers should be valid from the time that you submit your form, until the expiration date that you designate, and available to anyone showing current U.S. military ID.
  • Businesses can place a message of support reading “We support our military and their families” on their company’s reader board, letting our military families know they are an important part of our community.
  • Operation Spokane Heroes (OSH) – This program helps show our support as a community to our active-duty and reservist military families.  Let them know of your appreciation for their service to the Spokane region and our country.  
Make a donation to the Operation Spokane Heroes fund.  Your financial contributions will be used to offer a variety of programs to help family members deal with the emotional and financial challenges of having a loved one away from home. For more information on how your company can be a part of Operation Spokane Heroes, phone the Family Support Center at (509) 247-3250.  Donations can also be mailed to Operation Spokane Heroes, c/o Spokane Chamber of Commerce, 801 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA   99201.   http://operationspokaneheroes.org 
  • Let’s Say Thanks to deployed servicemen and women.  This resource provides an opportunity for you to send a FREE postcard of support and thanks to a soldier.  Click on your favorite design, and either select the message that best expresses your sentiment, or draft a personal note.   Xerox is providing this free service, at www.LetsSayThanks.com.  Those who have wireless laptops may share with others.  Email questions to mailto:info@LetsSayThanks.com
  • Neck Coolers.  Make neck coolers for our troops serving in extremely hot climates.  The crystals inside slowly give up their absorbed water and the evaporation of the water should cool a soldier for hours.  They are easy to make and easy to use.
  1. Stop by an Army Surplus store to closely match the new uniform color.  (Soldiers do not want a bright or contrasting color around their neck which will make them a target!)  Also, make a test tie with the brand of crystals you are using, to be sure you have the correct amount after the cooler is soaked.  Different brands will absorb different amounts of water.  Caution:  You may be tempted to put more crystals into each pocket, thinking that more is better; however, ¼ tsp. of crystals should be enough.  Packing them too tightly will leave the soldier with a neck cooler that won’t bend enough to go around his/her neck.  The crystals can be purchased where garden supplies are sold.)

  2. Sew a 40”x5” strip of cotton fabric right sides together, in half lengthwise, leaving an opening in the center.  

  3. Turn right side-out and iron.   Sew a center seam, and 2 more seams 5” from center.  

  4. Insert 1/4 tsp. “Magic Crystals” or “Moisture Plus” into each of the  pockets (using a small funnel), and sew the opening closed.  (These crystals will expand to completely fill the 5” tubes when soaked in water.)  The crystals shrink when dried, and are re-usable. 

  5. It is recommended that you include “Instructions for Use” with each neck cooler.  To use the cooler, soak the whole thing in water until the crystals expand and the pockets bulge.  The first soaking may take 10-60 minutes before the crystals absorb as much water as they are capable of holding.  Then, tie the neck cooler around your neck.  The crystals will slowly give up their absorbed water and the evaporation of the water should cool the soldier for hours.  The neck cooler can be re-soaked and used again and again.  It should last about 2 months before the crystals lose their ability to absorb water. 

  6. The neck coolers can be sent through local families who have family members serving; or through an organization like Soldiers’ Angels at http://www.soldiersangels.org/ or Operation Support.  
Local Organizations