Wednesday, December 28, 2011


When it comes to a motto for you and your colleagues at work, "Hell in a helmet" is one that grabs your attention and strangles it lovingly. 

For the 2D battalion of the 9th Marines, that phrase represents more than just words on an emblem. It reflects a way of life, particularly when said Marines are deployed in harms way. 

Last holiday season, Marines from 2D--like thousands of U.S. troops--were stationed far from friends and families. We decided to help organize colleagues from work and start a collection drive, with the end goal of mailing care packages to Marines in Afghanistan. 

Turned out, lots of folks want to support our troops serving abroad. Together, we collected more than 20 boxes full of items such as books, magazines, snacks, and candy. Colleagues joined to prep the care packages and ship them off to Afghanistan, via the U.S. Postal Service.

If you're interested in shipping a care package to troops overseas, check with the USPS on guidelines, or the non-profit Marine Parents has a page with details about mailing items to Marines.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The holidays bring with them lots of opportunities to do something for others. Food drives, toy donations, all those red-suited guys standing in front of stores ringing their bells. But last month a friend told us about what has to be one of the most unique volunteer activities around DC. 

Liz places a wreath on a headstone at Arlington Cemetery.
On the second Saturday of each December, hundreds of people gather at Arlington National Cemetery to recognize fallen troops by placing wreaths at their headstones. The folks at Wreaths Across America, a non-profit started 20 years ago by a swell guy named Morrill Worcester, host the event together with individual sponsors like you and me, corporate donors (not like you and me) and volunteer truck drivers to haul the wreaths. 

Good start, but more work to be done.
This year, we gathered up a few co-workers and, together with thousands of others, helped make 2011 a record breaking year by laying more than 90,000 wreaths on grave markers throughout the Cemetery. It's an amazing sight to see, those thousands of headstones decorated with wreaths and a red bow to mark the holidays. It's even more impressive for the families of those who paid the ultimate price for their country. 

To learn more, join the annual January clean up, or volunteer at the 2012 wreath laying next December, check out Wreaths Across America.