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September 18, 2010

I Cried Happy Tears

It was just so overwhelming to know that someone who was risking their life for our safety and freedom would take their own time and money to wish My Midget a Happy Birthday!

Let's go back to January:
I am a board member of The Johnson County Beef Cattle Association and last January we as a board decided that we would like to honor a unit of the military that would be shipping out of Camp Atterbury - we decided on a huge steak dinner to be served at The Indiana FFA Center in Trafalgar (just a hop skip and a jump from Atterbury).
One of our board members found a unit, a date was chosen (the next week, so we worked fast) and the meal was on!  Because we live in Johnson County and so does General Umbarger (The Adjuant General of the Indiana National Guard) and we love agriculture and he loves agriculture and he loves the military and we truly appreciate the military - you see what I am saying here -  we were able to get him to come speak to this unit during our dinner - this was really cool!
During this dinner My Midget notices that there are only 3 girls in this unit and says look at the one with the blonde hair, she is so beautiful!  I said well go on over there and introduce yourself and tell her you think shes pretty - and she did - and they formed an immediate friendship!

My Midget wanted to be her penpal so Kaitlyn took our address (because she didn't know what hers would be) and promised to write.  My Midget checked the mailbox everyday for the next 2 months  - I don't think she had any idea how long it would take Kaitlyn to get to Afganistan, get set up and do her job before she would have time to write.  I will never forget how excited My Midget was when she got that first letter - she showed it to everyone, slept with it, carried it everywhere - which is how we lost the envelope - the only thing we had with Kaitlyn's address on it!  There were tears!  Luckily this Mom knows people - like the Colonel in charge of all of Camp Atterbury - oh yeah that's right - one very pleading e-mail to Colonel Todd Townsend and within an hour we had the address - when a little girl needs the address to her soldier penpal in Afganistan the military was swift!  She immediatly wrote a 4 page letter to Kaitlyn and in the mail it went and they have written back and forth lots of times.  Recently though we had not received a letter and My Midget was very concerned, she was truly worried that something had happened to her friend!  Then I received this e-mail on Sept. 2 from another JC Beef Board member:

I just wanted to take the time to let you know that our pals in Khost, Afghanistan are doing all right for now. It was their base that was one of the Khost bases attacked last Saturday. Sgt. Elliott skyped in this week and said he was very proud of his unit. They had not trained for all the activities that took place that day, but their efforts were flawless. He said as they went after the attackers, the unit members were able to keep all of the front line people supplied with ammunition and supplies and they never were without what they needed. He was impressed with their effort and skills.

As a side note, he said the firefight that took place that day was the longest recorded firefight for the U.S. in Afghanistan. I think it was something like 10 hours. ugh.. and yes, if you follow the news.. Sgt. Elliott said the cornfield has now been chopped down. They paid the local nationals to " harvest" a little early.. ;)

They are expecting many more situations in their area, and especially this weekend. So I would ask that if you are not already, please add them into your prayer time.

This sent a chill up my spine, we didn't tell Midget for a few days - but she kept asking why she hadn't gotten a letter in so long that I finally told her that Kaitlyn had lots of work to do and that where she was working was not safe but she should say a prayer that Kaitlyn was safe and she should go ahead and write another letter to pass the time - and she did - and it simply said:

Dear Kaitlyn, I know that you are very very busy but if you could please just send me a short letter to tell me you are safe I would like that. 

I cried! - am crying now typing this!

But then the package came - the one that made me cry happy tears - it came in the mail yesterday (I am positive Kaitlyn has not even received the above letter) - it even brought tears to Chris' eyes (don't tell him I told you)!

She didn't rip it open, she didn't shake it to see what moved, she wasn't excited for herself - (go get a kleenex while I wipe the tear off the keyboard) - she simply hugged the box and said "This means she is safe".  In it was a scarf (the kind Kaitlyn has to wear over her head in Afganistan if she is not wearing her helmet), a beautiful braclet, a little jeweled elephant (because Kaitlyn knew that Midget collects elephants) and a letter!  My Midget loved the gifts for birthday but she truly treasured the letter and what it represented - that her friend was safe!

I can't begin to tell you how much this girl (she is only 24), this woman, this soldier means to me and my family - I truly hope that my girls turnout to be the kind of person Kaitlyn is.


  1. What a wonderful story! My nephew is also serving in Afghanistan, He's an Army Ranger and a Captain. He pulled all sorts of strings to get himself back with his old unit from Iraq before they transferred out to this lovely bit of forsaken landscape. So glad Kaitlyn is safe ( I believe they just had a 6.3 earthquake out there today or yesterday!) What is even more touching is that your Midget "gets it." You have done a great job instilling precious values in your daughter! Hugs all around!

  2. That is so cool!
    It's great they could meet in person before she was deployed--that makes this so much more personal.
    I'm sure Kaitlyn values the contact back home, too.

  3. What a precious story. You are right, I have tears in my eyes :) I will have them in my prayers.

  4. I do have tears in my eyes. How beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Yeah, I'm crying! This reminds me of when my two best guy pals served in Afghanistan. I too waited by the mail box in hopes of receiving a letter/reassurance they were okay. Don’t tell them but I still have every letter they wrote me while they were gone! What I didn’t understand then and what your Midget probably doesn’t understand is how important her letters are to Kaitlyn. After they got back home I was told that the letters they received and the time they read them was what got them through all the bad stuff that happens in war. So, keep those letters following!

  6. OK, I am crying, and I don't cry. I am sure your midget means as much to Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn means to her. They will forever be bonded!

  7. It's unanimous...tears all around! Love the pic of the two of them and they are both definitely winners! :)

  8. Tears can mean you are sad, happy...it is an expression...