Operation Katrina Soldiers’ Relief Fund

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Soldiers Angels teams with National Guard to assist Katrina Victims

Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans, South Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The homes and lives of an untold number of Americans have been decimated. Included in the ranks of victims are the family members of our soldiers serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan. Many of these soldiers will be returning home in the next few weeks to find that their families have been displaced and their homes and businesses destroyed. Others, who continue the battles, are just trying to learn information concerning there families’ whereabouts and safety.

Many local residents have been doing what they can to help with vastness of the tragedy that has occurred. One local resident, Richard John, remembered reading that the Louisiana National Guard units were due to rotate home from Iraq in September. While watching the scenes on television and knowing how hard it was for him to contact his friends in New Orleans, it struck him that those soldiers who are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan must have been overwhelmed with fear not knowing what happened to their families. He thought of the difficulties faced by the families who were short a member because they were stationed oversees. He knew that these people needed special attention.

Rick John decided to contact an organization called Soldier's Angels. This organization has helped thousands of our service men and women who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has worked tirelessly supporting our soldiers and in ensuring that our military know they are loved and supported during and after their deployment into harms way. To date, they have sent thousands of care packages to deployed soldiers, helped the wounded at three major military hospitals, and aided many military families. Having dealt with Patti Bader, its founder, in the past, John decided to email her a note suggesting that Soldier's Angels establish a relief fund to help these returning soldiers and their families recover from this disaster. In a matter of a few seconds he received a response from Bader stating that it was a great idea and she really appreciated his volunteering.

By the end of the day the fund had been established by Soldier's Angels (http://www.soldiersangels.org), in coordination with Matthew and Frankie Mayo, founders of Operation AC (http://www.operationac.com/). This fund has been established to help the military families obtain essential personal items, temporary shelter and any other needs that can be met. Soldier's Angels will also work to provide information to the soldiers concerning their families’ whereabouts and needs. With the help of the blogosphere and bloggers such as Matt at Blackfive (http://www.blackfive.net/) and Hugh Hewitt (http://www.hughhewitt.com/) the donations started arriving. Paul and Joan at Minimus, Soldiers’ Angels packing company worked overtime to get boxes of needed supplies out to the families. The generosity of people has been absolutely amazing.

Since the establishment of the fund on Wednesday, Soldiers Angels’ has worked tirelessly to coordinate the release of funds to Louisiana National Guard members and their families and to deliver over 500 care packages to the Louisiana National Guard in Lake Charles. It continues to work with the military family liaison groups to help fill any other needs of the deployed soldiers and their displaced families.

There are approximately 4,000 Louisiana National Guard Members due back home in the next month or so. About 20 percent are from New Orleans and many others are from areas destroyed by the Hurricane. They are having trouble locating their families and can do very little to help them. This does not include the large number of regular and reserve Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel who are deployed and unable to help their families. Soldiers’ Angels believes that now is the time to help protect those who have given up so much to protect us.

Donations can be made through

Soldier's Angels Foundation,

Operation Katrina Soldier’s Relief,

1792 East Washington Blvd.,

Pasadena, California 91104

or through their website http://www.soldiersangels.org/ .

Any displaced National Guard Families have been asked to call and register their location and contact information.

Deployed service members can call and obtain a status on their families.

To contact the National Guard for registration please call:

National Guard Bureau Hotline 1-888-777-7731, The Louisiana National Guard Office of Family Programs 1-866-647-3617


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Patti Bader
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