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Greetings friends and supporters! In this email:

Our updates as promised on the Projects featured as part of our Memorial Day Challenge:

*1LT Jason Karluk in Mosel (Iraq) gets requested trauma bags and more
*1LT Greg Hembree gets camping equipment in his efforts to promote Scouting
*CPT Gregory Schaefer can now outfit
80 Afghan Youth soccer teams
*Large and small requests, more unrestricted funds at work including soldier calling from Afghanistan!

CHALLENGE PROJECT 1-1LT Jason Karluk in Mosel Gets Trauma Bags and More
When one soldier's deployment ends, we're finding a lot of enthusiasm from their replacements to continue the good work. 1LT Karluk is home now, but he has passed the project he started, to bring critical supplies to Iraqis, on to SSG Jonathan Anderstrom. They're both pictured below:

alt That's 1LT Karluk all the way to the right and his replacement SSG Anderstrom at the left end of the group.

The 25 military medic bags (trauma bags), which each weigh about 12 lbs and contain everything needed in a first response emergency, are on the way. Now that the specifications on the other medical equipment requested have been confirmed, an autoclave and pediatric nebulizers will be purchased this week. That will be over $10,000 in medical supplies.

Email excerpts from Major Donald Vacha, Team Leader for 1LT Karluk & SSG Anderstrom

"Thank you. You're organization is an inspiration. I greatly appreciate the work Jason and his aunt did in connecting your resources with the needs of the Iraqi people.

I read your website and I'm very impressed with your mission. Feel free to contact myself or SSG Anderstrom at anytime. Additionally, we will ensure to get photographs as we distribute this so your donors can witness the impact. Once again thank you for your generosity."


CHALLENGE PROJECT 2 -1LT Greg Hembree helps jump start scouting in several locations in Iraq
In addition to paying the shipping for 1,000 Pinewood derby kits, Spirit of America purchased about $10,000 worth of camping equipment this month. It's everything from first aid kits to 2 man sleeping tents.

Excerpts from 1LT Gregory Hembree's recent emails earlier this month:

"It is so awesome that you just sent me this message when you did. I am sending a link to a wish list for Coleman supplies. This may look excessive at first glance, but these supplies will directly support their scouting plans for this year's event planner. The items will also be split with half dedicated to the Green Zone Council and half dedicated to the Green Zone Council. I gotta' tell ya', the motivation and excitement level that has boosted interest and active involvement with the Iraqi Scouting Program is just phenomenal. This is 1000 times more intense than I had ever imagined it would be, but it is absolutely energy well focused!"

"I can't wait to see the smiles of these boys upon receiving tents and sleeping bags and, well, SCOUT STUFF!!! This is actually making me feel younger, which is a welcome feeling in this environment."

1LT Hembree should start seeing boxes, LOTS of boxes, within the next couple of weeks!

CHALLENGE PROJECT 3- CPT Gregory Schaefer's Football For Peace
Not just a few soccer balls and jerseys, more like 880 sets, enough to outfit80 soccer teams! Each set includes the jersey, shorts and socks! Any parent with a soccer son or daughter knows how excited kids get about uniforms. The vendor has also generously donated 75 goal keeper jerseys and 75 whistles! That's approximately $12,000 very well spent.

Excerpts from CPT Schaefer's email this month:

"This is great news. We have re-graded a number of soccer fields here. The jerseys and balls will be just the thing we need to make this complete."

Boxes should start arriving any day, we should get some great pictures from him soon!

1LT Philip Swintek and SPC David Morris contacted us for help, hearing about SoA's ability to respond rapidly for help from one of his soldiers. 1LT Swintek described the area of Afghanistan that they are stationed in as"incredibly poor" and that they are eager to help the community. Of particular interest to them was receiving baby supplies to help curb the effects poverty had on the youngest children. Spirit of America responded by purchasing $6,000 worth of powdered infant formula, baby bottles and cases of diapers in various sizes.

Here is what SPC Morris had to say about the items provided:
"Your help with sending supplies for these babies is totally awesome! These children grow up with absolutely nothing. Many babies and toddlers die from malnourishment as they rely on breast milk which is typically not much help as the mothers are typically very malnourished and ill-treated. The bottles, formula, and diapers will save lives. God bless you and your colleagues."

An added bonus that comes "straight from the heart". . . one of our volunteers (thank you Mrs. Z!) sprung into action and quilted several baby and child size blankets that will bring comfort and warmth to these babies.

Afghanistan calling. . . literally! Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Lape picks up the phone and calls Spirit of America
In his first contact with SoA he writes in an email:
"There are a lot of kids get injured out here from stepping on land mines left over from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. There's something like an estimated 33 million land mines in Afghanistan, and we know where about 7 million of them are. That's a lot of land mines!! These little kids are getting killed and severely injured all the time. Those who do survive, are almost certainly missing limbs and extremely messed up. They're cared for at the Egyptian hospital on base, and there are kids in all stages of recovery. Team Patrick is taking this one head on!! This is what we do know...Kids love toys, attention, and just having someone spend time with them! The Egyptian hospital is understaffed and the conditions are sub par compared to our facility. They're operating out of several wooden shacks lined up side by side. My only goal is to bring a smile to the face of these children and let them know they're loved.

Along with this, I'm in the process of working through my chain of command to get approval to convoy out into the local villages outside the base and hang out with the kids, pass out toys and candy, and have a good time. I did something similar in Iraq and it was a huge success. Pray everything works out this time around."

alt Senior Airman Lape with Afghan boy

And then came the phone call, it was wonderful to hear the enthusiasm in his voice. We've already shipped lots of "kid stuff"; pocket toys, soccer balls, school kits and more. We're also working with Brandon, as he likes to be called, and the Doctors to determine what medical supplies will help the hospital on base that treats these local kids. More on that as we confirm their needs.

SFC Marc Yaw and LTC John Boyle to Distribute School Supplies to Afghan Children
Spirit of America was first contacted by LTC Edward McInnis seeking out backpacks and school supplies to distribute to the local children in Afghanistan. LTC McInnis recently rotated out but put us in contact with his colleagues SFC Marc Yaw and LTC John Boyle in order to complete the mission. We are happy to announce that the supplies were distributed recently to excited children. On SFC Yaw's behalf while he was on leave, LTC Boyle wrote to us and had the following to say:

"When I first arrived in Afghanistan, I conducted a HA mission with LTCMcInnis, to a local school were we distributed approximately 600 student backpacks (which were provided by Spirit of America) to the children of the Family Village Secondary School. The smiles on the children faces were priceless. Thank you all for making a difference in the lives of these wonderful children."

alt Soldiers Distribute Backpacks to Children

LTC Boyle just emailed yesterday that with the success of this distribution, could we please send another 1,000 backpacks? LTC Boyle also noted that upon SFC Yaw's return, they will contact us to discuss more areas where we may be able to support their efforts. We look forward to it!

Next email we'll have several new projects to feature, from requestors who want to provide equipment that will give clean water to a local village in Afghanistan to needed playground equipment in Iraq.If you would like to give a much needed (and appreciated) contribution to any of our projects or our Unrestricted Fund, here's the link to Spirit of America. As always, our sincerest thanks for making all that we do possible.

We'll be back in a couple of weeks!

All the best,

Spirit of America

No endorsement of Spirit of America by the US Department of Defense or its personnel is intended or implied.