Aloha All to “Monsoon Monday.”
To start off, I am not a techie nor blogger, so my post may be extremely short or extremely long, depending upon the topic and your interest. Watching Good Morning America this morning, one of the features was on charitable organizations, and just how much actually went to that charity and how much to overhead, salaries, and perks.
Let me tell you about just one that has changed the lives of thousands, both the beneficiaries and the volunteers. It is called, “Snowball Express,” founded in California eleven years ago. It is a charity for the children of our fallen American Heroes in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is where I met Barbara Allen and her four sons, Trevor, Colin, Sean, and Jeremy a decade ago. She is the co-founder of this blog, American Snippets.
War has its ugly side but also a dark side and the dark side is the terrible tragedy that engulfed this beautiful family.
Her husband, Lt. Lou Allen, was a High School Science Teacher and a member of the National Guard, who deployed to Iraq in 2005, where he and his CO were killed days later by a disgruntled American soldier with a “fragging.” Three years later, this murderous soldier, who had signed a document admitting as such, was acquitted of all charges. His court-martial was one of the largest miscarriages of justice to date. Not only the loss of her husband did Barbara have to deal with, but now this! Her happy world was in a tailspin like no other and the horizon had nothing but road and stumbling blocks ahead of her. That she was a physical and emotional train wreck was a given, but she had four sons that needed her desperately.
I saw first hand, the hurt, pain, and agony that were her daily dosages of life, that no one should have to endure, under any circumstance. I came to love this wreck of a woman and her four sons and saw that glint in her eyes, that yes, she was down but far from over. As painful as it was, she pulled herself up by the bootstraps countless times, trusting others who only hurt her more.
Over the years I have watched her grow and mature into a passionate young woman, so bent on helping others as a way of helping herself. She authored two books, one so difficult to write, which was on the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death. Another light-hearted book soon followed, “how to Woo a Widow.” She returned to school, earning a Masters Degree, and went through government training to become a Veterans Service, now taking care of our own.
She found a new love, David Brown, a mountain man, who dotes on her and sets such a positive example for her boys. He is also the other co-founder of “American Snippets.” She has learned how to flip houses and all the while raising four of the most positive and fun loving four boys that anyone would be proud to have them call you Dad!
Snowball Express brought thousands of these widows and children together each year at Christmas time, to share common and heartbreaking circumstances together, that has forged lifetimes of friendship.
For us volunteers, it has brought us all a renewed spirit of “paying it forward,” for a common and noble cause. Your donations to this extraordinary charity breathes life and godliness back into the souls of both receivers and givers.
Just a brief on two extraordinary people, Barbara Allen & David Brown who will bring wisdom, humor and love to all of you, through “American Snippets.”
Oooooorah and Semper Fi.
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