Skip to comments.Joshua Sparling - 8,000 cards and counting!
Posted on 12/20/2005 4:12:48 AM PST by CoopEdited on 12/21/2005 6:11:16 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
Mod update (post #156): (12/21 appearance, via phone, on Fox and Friends) [Josh] was talking about all the cards and gifts he has rec'd ... he had over 8,000 with him .. that his father is helping him give them out to the other soldiers. He said he'd be trying to send thank you notes to everyone .. but there are so many that he can't write them all right away and wants to let everyone know how thankful he is. Brian mentioned that his leg could be saved and Josh said that once he gets better that he is going back. WOW .. what a great man his is .. God Bless him 156 posted on 12/21/2005 9:05:34 AM EST by Mo1
(12/21 appearance, via phone, on Fox and Friends)
[Josh] was talking about all the cards and gifts he has rec'd ... he had over 8,000 with him .. that his father is helping him give them out to the other soldiers.
He said he'd be trying to send thank you notes to everyone .. but there are so many that he can't write them all right away and wants to let everyone know how thankful he is.
Brian mentioned that his leg could be saved and Josh said that once he gets better that he is going back.
WOW .. what a great man his is .. God Bless him
156 posted on 12/21/2005 9:05:34 AM EST by Mo1
For those unaware of the original story, Joshua is a wounded soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who received a hate-filled Christmas card supposedly written by a young boy. Please review this thread regarding Brian Kilmeades original story, as well as this thread for the alleged admission of the hate cards supposed author. (By the way, the hate card was not directly addressed to Joshua, but rather was from the Any Soldier pile.)
Since I go to Walter Reed frequently, I made an offer on the first thread of delivering cards and goodies directly to some patients if people so desired. Several kind people took me up on that offer, and the following is my description of my visits on 9 and 16 Dec. A friend, LandryFan, accompanied me on the second part of the good cheer tour, affectionately dubbed Operation Smother (as in smother em with love) by yours truly.
December 9, 2005:
For my first visit, which was less than a week after Kilmeades 5 Dec article, I had received the following items:
-$300 worth of phone cards from New York
-40 individual bags of yummy, assorted baked goods from the state of Washington.
-Some personalized Christmas cards and a $50 money order from Texas. With this money order I purchased about $40 worth of a variety of snack items such as pudding cups, beef jerky, gum, Vienna sausages, candy bars, instant soups, etc. (The remaining $10 will be spent for my upcoming visit on similar items.)
Most of the loot I laid out on the table at Mologne House, a base hotel and transition facility for ambulatory patients. I generally mingled with patients and their families in the lobby and handed out phone cards, baked goods, Christmas cards, etc. Everyone within earshot heard over and over again how the central, eastern and western U.S. had taken part in this outreach, and all were duly impressed with the nationwide response.
I met P - a double below-knee amputee who said he never realized how much support there was for the troops until he got wounded. Hes in regular contact with his unit and tells them about all the support he has received, which likely gives their morale a boost. Ps mother is a refugee from Vietnam, and he joined the Army as a way to give back to the country which gave his Mom a new life. He said he would do it all again, if he could.
Two-year old Sabrina and her Daddy (who had lost both hands & forearms) came down to the lobby to get some treats. Sabrina grabbed a lollipop and candy bar (mmm mmmm!), and I asked if she liked cookies. The little blonde cutie suspiciously eyed the strange man kneeling down, holding out a bag of WA baked goods, but an assuring word or two from Daddy broke the ice -- at least long enough for her to grab the bag and then hide behind Daddy's leg.
Vera, from Utah, is the mother of one of the Marine patients at Walter Reed. I expected all the Marines to be over at Bethesda, but was surprised when I first learned of Vera's son, Brian, and other Marines in the facility. [Read about Brian in this 30 Oct 05 article] Vera is a lovely lady who really has become the "house mother" for all the patients at Walter Reed and the Mologne House. Because it was too late in the evening to visit patients I didnt know, Vera volunteered to deliver some items to Joshua and his mates the next morning. So we made up small packages of TX Christmas cards, NY phone cards and WA baked goods.
I did visit with one patient in his room a co-workers friend who had been shot five times the day before Thanksgiving in Iraq. I delivered a bag of snacks and baked goods, as well as a couple of Christmas cards, to Matt. He really looked great, although he joked about his humped back (due to bandages and muscular damage). Matts parents, Debbie and Mark (who is an active duty Army Sergeant Major) from Va. Beach, and his friend Renee from Georgia were also there. Everyone was very friendly and appreciative of the support, and we visited for about twenty minutes. Out of the blue the family commented on how happy they were to see the D.C. Chapter (and Santa Claus) counter-protesting the anti-American leftists. They had not yet heard of the Joshua Sparling incident and were, not surprisingly, disgusted.
December 16, 2005:
For my second visit LandryFan graciously accompanied me with her own stash of goodies. I brought along my digital camera and the following items:
-A collection of audio books and DVDs from New York.
-A large box of goodies (candy, cookies, etc.), books and a video from Florida.
-From New Jersey, six Christmas stockings filled with items including a hand-written Christmas card, playing cards and a Nerf football.
-About 80 personalized Christmas cards from a Boy Scout troop in Pennsylvania, including some personally addressed to the Kilmeade featured patients and Matt from above (whose name I provided to them).
-Two large boxes of goodies (snacks, gum, underwear, socks, razors, shampoo, etc.) from New York.
-A large box of tender loving care (including chips & salsa, socks, undies) from southern Cal.
For this trip I had coordinated with MSG Tracy Evans of the Red Cross office. He was injured (neck, back, subsequent heart attack) in a vehicle accident near the Iranian border over a year ago, and hes still a patient at Walter Reed. But he works about six days per week in the hospitals Red Cross office sorting and delivering goodies to our wounded troops. He was very familiar with Joshuas story, and was one of the very few who was not thrilled about it. Why? Because he has to screen all the incoming mail! :-D
LandryFan and I were not allowed onto the ward to see in-patients, but Tracy agreed to deliver four packages (stockings, Boy Scout cards, assorted goodies) to the four (out of Kilmeades original ten) patients still listed on the ward. While Tracy was visiting the ward, we divided up our goodies, leaving the DVDs and a box filled with snacks in the Red Cross office (which was OVERFLOWING with donated items) and setting the remainder aside for Mologne House. LandryFan instructed Tracy to ask Josh if he was married. Upon his return, Tracy reported that Josh had answered No when informed a young lady was asking about his matrimonial status. However, Joshs brother quickly sold him out with a Yes you are! Sorry, LF. ;-)
Joshua Sparling posing with Nerf football and stocking sent from the Garden State.
Upon arriving at the Mologne House we called up to four different rooms. One was not home, and one did not care to have visitors (very understandable given the late hour). By invitation we went upstairs and met with Cpl Todd Bishop, a double-amputee below the knee and one of the wounded soldiers profiled in Kilmeades article. He, his roommate Robert and Todds mother were all very gracious and appreciative of the support. We told them how proud we were of their efforts, especially given the tremendous results of the Iraqi elections the day before.
So, Todd, have you noticed any difference in your mail since the article?
Todd showing off about three days worth of mail.
I paid a second visit to Matt, the lieutenant shot up around Thanksgiving.
Matt showing off his personalized Christmas cards from Troop 431 and then modeling his wounds.
My apologies if anyone finds this too graphic, but Im amazed at how good he looks given its been less than a month. He calls himself very lucky, and the only permanent damage hell likely have will be the loss of his left finger below the knuckle. Matt leaves in a few days for Christmas convalescent leave, and will return in January for physical therapy and hopefully hospital out-processing paperwork.
After departing Matts room, LandryFan received a call from Steve Cobb, another patient who received one of her Any Soldier cards and his wife wrote LF back. We went over for a visit, and admired a collection of coins amassed during their special tour of the Pentagon earlier that day.
The long rectangular coin came from Rummy
Most Army units have their own coins, as do other agencies and even the POTUS. We also listened to an audio file about Steves brain injury suffered during a vehicle accident and his subsequent therapy and recovery. Audio file and photo here.
I departed Walter Reed about 11:30 pm for the drive home - much less traffic than the Beltway parking lot I fought on the way up. All in all a very good visit.
Special thanks to some special FReepers for making this visit possible. Id like to thank them by screen name, but some may not be comfortable with that approach. So (((hugs)))) to all of you for sending cards and goodies!
And a tip o the cap to JimRob for this forum, which ties it all together.
I already have two additional boxes from New York and three from Maine, with more packages en route to me. So I anticipate at least one more report on or about Christmas. For those who may not be sure if their efforts are making a difference, take my word for it. They are! Keep sending those cards and care packages whether to Walter Reed/Bethesda Naval Hospital, a deployed unit, military friends/families, whatever. Youll be showing a little gratitude to those who have given so much.
Freedom isnt free. God bless our troops!
I'm always amazed and humbled by how often these fine wounded warriors thank us for supporting them. Ironic, to say the least.
I would ask anyone considering writing these fine servicemembers to also include MSG Tracy Evans in your list - he was working past 10:00 on a Friday night just to ensure the other patients were receiving comfort items. His colleague - SSG Christian - I'm sure would appreciate some cards as well.
Bump for later read.
There is a reason for the season.
Excellent reporting Coop!! We really appreciate you taking time to visit our guys.
Thanks so much for a noble project and a great report about it.
Canteen ping (and I added in a few other friends, too!)...seriously you guys, you HAVE to read this! Please give this thread a bump or two. And if you have a list, please give it a ping.
Thanks for ping. Great report. Merry Christmas if I don't see you Friday!
My story-telling often makes people cry, although that's usually when I'm doing it in person.
Would you like to see the slides from my vacation to the National Sewing Machine Museum? :)
Thanks, mate. We need guys like Joshua to watch over us while we sleep. Glad to hear he's doing well.
*("first read" after Pookie18's "Todays Toons", that is)
Good news ping!!
Thanks Coop and Star for the ping!!!!
Yes, please. I love museums. Please bring them with you in two weeks.
Wow, seems my screen has somehow gone all blurry.
LOL!!! Nah, you can keep those to yourself!!
Unless of course there are any soldiers in them....?
He he he!!
Isn't it amazing how good can come from such a horrible beginning.
As soon as I heard about this disgusting story, I knew Walter Reed was going to be overwhelmed by love. :-)
Here's my take on the visit. It was a wonderful opportunity to thank some of America's heroes.
You'll recognize the pics! Mine haven't been developed yet.
Overwhelmed by love and a Coop.
NOTE!!! Sean Hannity will be taking Hannity & Colmes on the road to Walter Reed this coming Friday December 23rd at 7pm ET.
Photo thief!! :-)
Seriously, thank you for hosting them on your blog.
That's redundant. Coop = love.
Hey, that's fantastic! I knew he would be down here with Ollie, but I had no idea they'd be doing the show. Maybe we can finally get some coverage of the Code Pinkos and their disgusting protest.
Thank You.......Have a Blessed Christmas
We will have you in makeup at 6:00PM for your closeup.
I sent Sweet Baby James that idea! I suggested that they have Kristinn on the show to talk about Free Republic's stand against the Code Pinko wackos.
Thank you,thank you, thank you for posting such a wonderful visit.
I met a soldier from West Virginia (not Steve). This guy is enormous. I want to recruit him for the Dallas Cowboys. I didn't get a chance to ask him how he'd feel about that. Nothing would get past him. Bill Parcells, are you lurking?
Nice guy too!
I think you may have done something wrong, all the words started getting blurry at this point.
Wonderful! Murphy's law here! I didn't get to bake Sunday, was ready to roll yesterday, and had plenty of everything EXCEPT SUGAR! How in the sam hill could I not have sugar??? I kicked the dog. (Just kidding). But I wanted to kick the dog, and I love the dog. I worked on the tree, instead. I'm still stuck with car trouble so I couldn't get to the store until late. But my oven is cranked, I HAVE SUGAR, I'm ready to roll, and I CAN walk to the Post Office where I will twist Johnny's arm to get my package to you in time! Don't give them all away, some are for you glorious FReepers!
Now, if by some reason, this package doesn't arrive in time- understand you are hereby obligated to make certain the cookies don't go unattended : )
Anyone who is fool enough to not believe in St. Claus, hasn't met St. Coop! Bless you!
It's makeup, not "miracle in a tube."
Yeah, I noticed the same thing. Probably should have included a lump-in-throat warning.
P-shaw! All you fine folks sending the goodies, cards, etc. are Santa Claus. I'm just the delivery guy. Guess that makes me a reindeer?
I'll keep an eye out for your package, and thanks for caring!
follow up ping! with pics!