Yesterday I was at the Boardwalk and all of a sudden it hit me, I smelled home. It smelled like my dad. I immediately looked around trying to figure out what it was and that’s when I saw it. Workers were sawing wood to make new banisters. The smell of fresh cut wood conjured up this image of my dad in the basement blaring his John Denver 8-track crafting some sort of project that mom asked him to complete and he decided to “Tim Taylor” it up. Smells are a funny thing.
Good news everybody, I LOVE MY JOB! For the first couple days I was working the front desk. This is where the troops come and check out a card to use the phone, computer or a PS3, Wii or guitar. I have the 2-11 pm (or should I say 1400-2300 shift, I’m getting better at military time!). It gets crazy busy around 9-11, because that’s when it is about 12:30 pm in the states, so they can talk to their families back home. The front desk is fun just because I get to meet everybody and learn their names. I probably know about 25 of them by their last names now. They love that I can just call them out even if they’re in PT clothes (they don’t have a name thingy on). I like it too because it feels like I’ve been here awhile now. We have some great volunteers too! I sometimes find it just hard to believe that a troop has been working hard all day, most times 12 hour shifts, and then they want to come into the USO and volunteer to work. Some volunteers come on their only day off for the week, and work all day. They’re all super nice! We have 4 majors that come in a couple nights a week. It’s just kind of funny to see 4 majors sitting there stuffing envelopes, but they’re setting a great example for the rest of the troops.
Yesterday, they taught me how to help with the United Through Reading Program. It’s amazing. There is no other way to put it. We help the troop pick a book, that’s my favorite part, I always suggest Amelia Bedelia, just because I loved her so much. One soldier said, wow, you’re really enthusiastic about this. J Then they write inside the little card, we put them in a room and push record. We send the DVD and book to the family back in the states. When I’m placing the DVD in the card, you sometimes can’t help but see the message, it’ll break your heart. One guy’s son’s birthday was yesterday, so he read to him. Other men have 4 children, so they come back as often as possible, so they can read to each one. One soldier asked me how much time he had, I said 18 minutes on the DVD, he said no, I mean in the room, I said as long as you need sir. After he came out of the room his eyes were all teared up, it’s hard to stay composed yourself. They have this really good book called, Night Catch. It is a book for deployed dads that tells their son or daughter that they can still be connected by playing catch with the North Star every night.
My coworker Duane took us on a tour of the base, IT’S HUGE!!!!! I was just picturing a Marshall sized campus, but it’s more like 15-25 Marshall campuses. At one point we could see through the wire, and we could see huts where Afghanis live.
I think my first program I’m going to start planning is a Halloween party. I’m so excited!