In today's world, it often feels as if kindness was left by the wayside... like way, way, wayside. From being constantly inundated by frightening news of active shooters and grisly acts of war, to the technology addiction that keeps our eyes and our fingers so busy that connecting with those around us becomes an afterthought— the opportunities to feel kind or be kind seem to be less and less.
With that in mind, it is important that we never underestimate the impact of an act of kindness, no matter how small. Working within an internationally recognized nonprofit, our focus is often on big projects with big impact. We are constantly working on those big projects to make them even bigger and even better in an attempt to make an even greater impact on our troops and veterans. So it's easy to forget that sometimes, the acts of kindness with the greatest impact may actually come from the smallest gesture.
We recently received the below letter:
"Dear Soldiers' Angels,
For several years, I have handed out Soldiers' Angels cards with the gold pin attached; normally placed in the window seal of the driver's side when I see a Veteran symbol on the license plate. Other occasions, I carry the card/pins in my handbag. If I see someone with a hat, declaring military status, I personally hand out a card/pin.
It's very, very rare to witness reactions, but no matter; I don't need recognition. The soldiers deserve recognition/acknowledgment, just to let them know that someone cares and appreciates the service that allows us to enjoy the freedoms we have.
Please find enclosed a newspaper article from the local paper. I was thrilled to read it and hope you enjoy the letter as well! — Lennox"
Included in the envelope was a page from the newspaper Payson Roundup in Payson, Arizona dated Friday, May 10, 2019. Within the "Mail Call" section, a short blurb was highlighted in pink marker that read:
"A random act of kindness: Last week Jim came home from Walmart. He had this far away look and tears in his eyes, he showed me a little blue card that had a gold pin of a soldier with angel wings on it that someone had placed on his windshield. The card read, "Soldiers' Angels... May no soldier go unloved... Thank you for your service."
Jim said, 'When I looked at it, I couldn't move. I just sat there staring at it. You can't know what this means to me.'
Sometimes we forget, but they don't.
Thank you, whoever you are, for this random act of kindness. — Kathleen"
So many of us go through our days so focused on ourselves that we may not even recognize the opportunities we have to be kind. In this instance, Lennox took maybe three seconds out of her day to place one of these cards on the windshield of a vehicle that happened to have a veteran plate... but those three seconds that she took from her time made a resounding impact in the life of someone else. More importantly, in the life of a veteran who, quite possibly, had never been thanked for his service until that moment.
Soldiers' Angels is incredibly blessed to have thousands of amazing "Angel" volunteers around the world who are registered with one of our virtual teams or who work on the ground with the Veteran Support program. If you've followed our social pages or our blogs for any time, you have seen some of the outstanding work carried out by these volunteers. They spend their time, their talent, and their resources on items that will touch the lives of our heroes in uniform, past and present.
However, kindness does not always require a lot of time or a special talent. And often the gifts we can give that require the least amount of money will have the most profound impact (ie, with this technology addiction I mentioned before, I'm sure we all have plenty of paper and pens that would be perfect for writing letters!). The Soldiers' Angels "Thank you for your service" card and lapel pin that Lennox uses costs about $0.46 cents... but the impact of ensuring that 'no soldier is forgotten' is priceless.
Do you have $0.46 you could spare to leave a thank you on the windshield of a veteran?
May No Soldier Go Unloved, May No Soldier Walk Alone, May No Soldier Be Forgotten, Until They All Come Home.™
We shared this blog post in a recent e-newsletter with our fans and followers asking them to take a #ThreeSecondChallenge and spread kindness. We had replies from our followers with some stories of how they had already worked kindness into their routine and had to share! In addition to that, we received this incredible letter from a young girl who exemplifies the meaning of kindness. Read on to hear the updates!
Lemonade for Troops
Soldiers' Angels recently received the below hand-written letter in the mail, along with a cash donation of $21.50. I think you'll agree after you read the letter that the value of this donation is worth so much more than money!
"Dear Soldier's Angels, I held a lemonade stand to raise money for your organization. I did this as a random act of kindness in memory of Gidi Zilberstein (www.gidimagic.com.) Thank you to the Santa Clarita Vally for your donations." - Maya, 8 years old 9/29/19
At first, we assumed Gidi must have been a fallen service member... but no... Gideon (Gidi) Zilberstein died on September 4, 2016, three days before his fifth birthday. Each year in the season of the anniversary of his death, friends, family, and strangers alike are encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness. Although we're not sure what Maya's relationship is to Gidi, given her age of 8 in 2019 (the same age Gidi would be if he were still with us), we can only assume she is a friend or classmate of this sweet boy. What a truly incredible way to make the spirit of this beautiful little boy live on beyond his short life. I encourage everyone to visit www.GidiMagic.com and help to spread Gidi's message of kindness, beauty, and joy.