Greetings from the desert country of Qatar! I wanted to take a moment to thank you on behalf of my Soldiers for the package of books that you sent us. First, let me tell you our story so I can explain how much of a difference your books have made. We are four months into a twelve-month deployment. We are a PATRIOT unit and our mission is to defend American and Coalition lives and assets from the threat of possible aerial attack by enemy planes and more importantly tactical ballistic missiles in the case that war breaks out with Iran. We spend our days on 24-hour shifts, rotating through three crews. Our sites are fully manned and ready to engage enemy threats within a moment's notice with surface-to-air-missiles. When not at war, however, life at site can become somewhat...boring. That's why I reached out to organizations such as yours to provide my Soldiers with productive ways to entertain themselves and occupy their minds while on shift. There's nothing quite like getting absorbed in a good book, whether it be a novel, biography, historical account, or self-help guide. Many of my Soldiers did not consider themselves readers before I started to receive books from generous donors such as yourself and built a display of interesting books in plain sight where they could see them and pick up whichever book caught their interest. At first the Soldiers were puzzled. "Sir, where are you getting these books from?" they would ask. I told them that nice people who cared about us donated these books so that we would have something productive and entertaining to do instead of sitting around playing on our phones. "I haven't read a book since high school," some retorted. "I don't read," others said. I didn't admonish or judge them. I just kept putting books on display, rotating themes every week.
It didn't take long to catch on. Every time I brought in a new package of books Soldiers would gather around curiously to see what kinds of books were inside. Nearly every day I'd notice a Soldier with a new book in his hand that I had unpacked from a box I'd received recently. Some asked if it would be okay for them to take the books back to their rooms, to which I agreed wholeheartedly. Before long, our unit became known for our "library," and even Commanders from other units would come by and ask if they could pick up a book or two! Our Battalion Commander applauded us for taking such an active interest in maintaining our Soldiers' morale and encouraging self-education. I didn't do it to get his attention, but I guess when you do good things, people notice.
None of this would have been possible without people like you. I'm stunned and beyond touched that a total stranger would take the time out of his or her day to acquire, package and mail books using their own money so that people they've never met before could have something in their hands while on this long and lonely deployment and get away in their minds. People like me are told "thank you for your service" quite often, especially when we're in uniform. My response is always the same, and it is always sincere:
Thank you for your support.