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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let's Hear it for our Service People!

Ok. I admit it, I was tempted to talk about our living Service men and women on Memorial Day. Somehow that seemed...well, a little bit not right. I certainly don't want to MEMORIALIZE them, but to honor them.I also admit that I tried my darnedest to write to my congressmen and women so that we wouldn't be involved in Iraq.  Let's face it, I am the daughter of a WWII GI, the granddaughter of someone who served in both WWI and WWII as well as the Army of Occupation in Japan. I lost an uncle in WWII.  Maybe it is because of that that I don't particularly want ANYONE to serve in a war, particularly one in which you could argue about the "rightness" of it. 

That doesn't mean that I don't support our troops or that I don't respect the men and women who serve at great risk and sacrifice.  I do. I am particularly taken with those who not only overcome their hardships and trials during their service, but work hard to do good in addition to fighting and doing their jobs overseas.
Major Art La Flamme is one of the guys I really admire and would like to honor.  Art is a husband and a father who has to leave his family and serve overseas.  He has served multiple deployments to Iraq.  He has been affected by what he has seen and where he has been.  On his own, he created Iraqi Bundles of Love (IBOL).   He has encouraged quilters and knitters to share of their bounty by packing up boxes filled with fabric, notions, tools, all manner of things which are sent in large, Flat rate A.P.O. Priority mail boxes.  Once in Iraq, they are distributed to women who then make garments for themselves and their children, items to sell, and all manner of things.

 Major Art La Flamme and IBOL boxes.  Art and his loyal henchmen and women, on their own time when they could have been sleeping or relaxing, coordinated the collection and distribution of 3,445 boxes filled with approximately 30,000 pounds/13,500 kg/15 tons of stuff shipped to them from all over the world to be presented during Ramadan, 2009.   Then he did it again in 2010 and he's working on another right now as well as launching Afghani Bundles of Love (ABOL) and some "Super Secret Projects" which are smaller projects.

Some of the boxes arriving in Sulimaniyah just prior to distribution.

Because I can't say it any better than Art himself in his description, here's what he has in his "media packet" on the IBOL Wordpress Blog.

"A third iteration of IBOL, called IBOL3D, is underway for 2011.  It’s surging sewing, knitting and quilting supplies in Baghdad and Anbar provinces, in conjunction with the drawdown of US Forces.  IBOL3D is closing out the year by crossing the continent and working with the Cultural Advisory Teams and Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan, which is as strange as it sounds – folks in Iraq helping folks in Afghanistan.

The IBOL website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Please respect that. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available through Art La Flamme.

Details on building a bundle:
Details on what to send:
IBOL on Facebook:

As well as keeping  ABOL, IBOL and the Super Secret Projects (SSPandthecurrent number) going, Art plugs other opportunities to give and ways of honoring and helping both our own service men and women and in other humanitarian efforts around the world.  He also has shared a pretty darned good recipe for hot fudge Sundae sauce....which should win him a special medal right there.

I can't imagine where he gets the energy, but he does.

Here's one effort that Art highlighted:

So, here's to Art La Flamme and to his family who loves and misses him.  Here's to all his co-conspirators in humanitarian work.  Thanks guys.  You do it where we can't....

Oh yeah...I swiped these photos from Art's blog and Facebook albums...with the blessing of one of his favorite quilters--gotta be politically correct, many people in his family quilt!. :)  You can see her stuff here  and in the book, Twelve by Twelve.

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