Thursday, July 26, 2012

SAM Bags

As I mentioned in my previous post I have volunteered to fill 50 gift bags for graduating Marines who will have no family or friends attending their ceremony. These brave men and women are called SAMs (Stand Alone Marines). Although I have only volunteered to help with the SAM bags in my son's Company, there are always SAMs graduating from Parris Island. This bothered me. I know, through my son, how much hard work and strength it takes to make it 13 weeks in the Marines boot camp. This is no small accomplishment and every man and woman that does it deserves to be celebrated, both for their perseverance and for their future service to our country. So I set out to find other companies and people who felt the same. This is what I found...

Case of puzzle books (40) and many more out dated books.
Donated by Penny Dell Publications (Norwalk, CT)

2 pack shavers (50 +)
2 pack Pens (50 +)
Donated by BIC (Shelton, CT)

Handmade thank you and congratulations cards (50)
Donated by family and friends.

50 Marine Red (or 1st Battalion Red) notebooks
Donated by family members

100 each of the following:
Trapezoid Drawstring bags
Protect Care Kits
Pacific Aluminum Bottles
Koomba Pens
Ear Buds
Eyeglass Holders
Clock Buddies
All of this donated by

I'm amazed at the response I've gotten so far! So many generous companies and people. It's heart warming to know our soldiers are appreciated and that these SAMs will be properly thanked for choosing to serve.

Proudly, Heart swelling, Thankful,

~ Kristin

Monday, July 23, 2012

Proud Marine Recruit Mom

Hi everyone. I know it's been a long time since I've posted on here, or have been active online at all. After some life changing experiences and inner battles involving writing (and just plain needing to figure out me as life changes) I took a long break. But all that is for another post and another time. Today I am back to share something very personal. 

My son, David joined the Marines this year. He is now at boot camp in Parris Island, SC, where he's been training since May 28, 2012. I couldn't be more proud of him, although as a mom, wouldn't have chosen this path for him or any of my children. But I do believe that serving your country is a brave and selfless act, one that allows us all the freedoms that we often take for granted. So for that I thank every man and woman who chooses to serve in the military. I also feel that choosing to join is a calling for some. So how do you stand in the way of that? You don't, no matter how much you want to lock them in their rooms until the world is a safer, kinder place. :)

As the weeks pass I write my son and wait anxiously (yes, I am that sappy, missing her kid mom) for his letters. I also follow his training schedule and connect with other family and friends of Marine recruits through a website run by the wives of Parris Island drill instructors.( ) It has been such a huge help for me and my family to get through these long 13 weeks. His graduation is quickly approaching now (August 24, 2012) and I can't wait to see him!

Through my casual observation of the yuku site discussions (and by that I mean constant checking and lurking for anything from my son's platoon or company) I found out that many new Marines do not have any family or friends attending their graduation, therefore have opted out of their 10 day leave. These soldiers graduate, line up at the bus station and head directly to their next training facility. The Marines call these men and women SAMs (Stand Alone Marines). 

Families from each company are asked to help fill gift bags for these SAMs to be given out as they leave Parris Island. As time went by I realized that no one from David's company was stepping up to organize this project and this broke my heart. Since Parris Island graduates new Marines almost every week they cannot possibly keep up with the never ending need for these gift bags so if no one volunteers the SAMs from that graduating class do not get any special send off at all for all of their hard work and training. So guess who stepped up? Yeah, me. It was one of those weak moments when my heart swelled bigger than my wallet.

I've been busy emailing and calling every local and national company I can think of to fill the 50 bags needed for Bravo Company's SAMs. Although I'm not a fundraiser, I dread my kids coming home with those wrapping paper catalogs or cases of candy bars, I am determined to make sure those new Marines feel appreciated for their choice to serve and protect us.

If you are as moved by this as I was you could help too. Maybe you work for a company or know someone who would be willing to donate something to this very worthy project. Anything helps and any excess donations not used at the graduation will be sent overseas to deployed Marines. Nothing goes to waste and no amount of help is too little or too much.

I will post more details shortly about what items would be useful and of course keep everyone updated on any progress made. Even just keeping these proud new Marines in your minds and hearts is nice. Positive thoughts have a lot of power on their own. 

SAM Bags Progress 

Feel free to drop me a comment about this or to share some great gift ideas.

Thanks and talk to you soon.

~ Kristin
Proud Marine Recruit Mom