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( I put this here instead of R&P because it is non-political )

Six years ago ask some of you folks for help with an idea I had. My idea was to gather up a few dollars and buy some plane tickets to allow some deserving young soldiers the opportunity to spend Christmas with their families. To say that I underestimated the responce I would get, would indeed be an understatement itself. Rising to the challenge in grand EHOWA Army fashion, you folks dug through your couch cushions and sent in over $14,000 dollars in just a few short days. Indeed, your generosity cemented the fact that our annual ticket drive would not be a one time shot, but an annual tradition. And hence the phrase, "Let's Bring Em Home" was coined. For the next five years following that otherwise uneventful Friday afternoon in December of 2001, I have put forth the call for your help. Where upon I throw myself on my knees and humbly beg that you, fair reader, will help me help our country's young soldiers. To show them that we understand they're people and not just statistics we see on our evening news, or blurry images that dance across our television screens. That we understand how they'd rather be with their families than any other place in the world, especially during this time of the year.

So here we are six years later and the world is a very different place than what it was when you and I began this journey together. As public opinion for the war in Iraq have molded the phrase 'bring them home' to imply other motives, I want to take a minute and remind everyone of the purpose behind LBEH. We are not for the war in Iraq, nor are we against it. We are not Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or Independent. Our motives serve not to change world events, or your perception of them. Our mission is as simple, as it is noble. All we want to do is unite a few military families for the Christmas holiday. That's it. No hidden agendas, no political speeches. We just buy plane tickets for troops. Period.

But before I begin my groveling for donations, I would like you to take a minute and read this article for me...

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/11/failing-to-serv.html

...paying particular attention to such points as, "As the founder of a charity called Help Hospitalized Veterans, which distributes craft kits to veterans' hospitals, Roger Chapin of San Diego pays himself and his wife more than half a million dollars a year in salary." That amazes me. I'm amazed first that a person can even sleep at night after pocketing over $500,000 that should have been earmarked for soldiers, and secondly because the IRS hasn't hammered the living **** out of them for it. Furthermore, Charitywatch audited some veterans charities and found some of them spend as much as 80% of their donations on... wait for it... soliciting donations....

http://charitywatch.org/articles/veterans.html

Now I realize I'm in a unique situation, in regards to running a charity. I have a media outlet in EHOWA, so I already have an inside track in soliciting help. But 80%? Isn't that a bit extreme? So I wanted to show you how LBEH compares to these big charity giants.


If you'll take quick gander at our 2006 tax returns you'll see...

http://www.lbeh.org/?2006taxes

...that last year we took in a grand total of $75,087 dollars - that includes both cash donations and frequent flier miles, which we're required to assign a monetary value to. From that $75,087k a total of $3,060 was spent on administrative costs - that's 4.07% for those of you without a calculator handy. Of that $3,060 how much was my total salary? Over half a million? Not quite. Try zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Not a penny. In fact, of that $3,060 that was spent to keep LBEH running, $1,598 of that is of the non-negotiable kind, in the form of Paypal fees.

Now, before anyone snorts milk onto their keyboard and thinks Paypal is ripping us off, I can tell you that the exact opposite is true. Without Paypal to serve as an easy and very inexpensive way for people to donate, LBEH would wither up and die. And before you ask, yes, I've asked Paypal if they'd waive the fees and no dice. LBEH and every other non-profit that uses them, pay the same as everyone else. Minus the value of frequent flier miles, we took in $66,562 in cash donations last year -- over $60,000 was from Paypal donations. So losing $1,500 to what are categorized as bank fees on our income taxes, is an insignificant price to pay when you consider all the donations we'd lose if people couldn't donate electronically.

To recap, for every dollar you donate to those other veterans charities, as little as $0.20 actually makes it to our guys in uniform. When you donate to LBEH, $0.96 makes gets through. Where is your donation doing the most good? You do the math.

Not to mention the convenience of it. If you decide to donate by check -- which is perfectly fine I don't want to discourage anyone from doing so -- consider this. Let's say you're a good little doobie and mail your check right off the bat, not letting it sit around on top of your microwave oven for a few days before dropping it into the mail... it's still going to sit in the mailbox for a day before being collected. From there it'll take three days (on average... sooner if you live in the Southeast, longer in the Northwest) to get to me down here in Florida. From there it'll probably sit in our PO box for at least a day before I can pick it up and make a deposit. From there, the bank puts a three day hold on all out-of-state checks.

So realistically, from the time you decide to make a donation to the time that a ticket is purchased, is about seven to eight business days. Versus Paypal, where the donation from your account to ours is instantaneous, and the electronic withdrawal from our Paypal to our Wachovia account takes two business days before being available. So a small 4% overhead for that fast turnaround really isn't bad.

Okay, now that we've got all the financial stuff out of the way, let's get down to is, shall we!

Each year the names change, but the song remains the same. Each year we receive ticket requests from young soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines. Each not wanting to spend a holiday alone in their dorms, and hoping that we can help get them home to see their families. Each year I receive heart wrenching emails from a young female soldier who was forced to send her children to live with their grandparents, while she fulfilled her military duties. And now the only thing she wants for Christmas is to be able to give her children presents in person. Are you going to tell her no?

Each year a young soldier fresh out of boot camp pines for the chance to spend just one more holiday with his parents before beginning a long deployment to the Middle East. Will he come home in once piece? Will he come home at all? I don't know. But what if this is his last Christmas? Wouldn't you want to spend it with loved ones, and not with the concrete walls of a dormitory?

And you Marine Moms! I'm always amazed at how many mothers of Marines will write in and ask if they can request a ticket on their child's behalf, because their son or daughter is in the field and can't do it themselves. Battle trained Devil Dogs they may be, but sometimes they still a little need help from Mom. And rest assured folks, nothing but heartbreak and disappointment await these fine people. You heard me. Nothing but heartbreak and disappointment await these fine people unless you and I do something about it.

And so once again the time of year has come, fair reader, where I humbly beg you for your assistance. Help me send the young single mom home to open Christmas presents with her kids. Help the young soldier who still looks like his yearbook photo make it home to see his family. Help a Marine Mom surprise their son with a plane ticket home. Help me help them. I can't do it without you. If you can give $20, then give $20. If you can afford $200, then by all means, give $200. And if you can only spare $5, them I encourage you to do just that. Every little bit helps. No donation is too small (or too big!) -- every little bit helps. LBEH 2007 HAS KICKED OFF - PLEASE HELP A SOLDIER GET HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!


http://www.lbeh.org/




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========== Ernie's House of Whoop Ass! =========
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============== Nemo me impune lacessit! =================
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Don't want to be a "stick in the mud" but my personal feelings are that this is not the place to come asking for money for this cause. First of all, Marines, and all other branches, don't send their people straight to the middle east "right after boot camp". They have other schools and training to attend first. They don't even have a "hard" skill desgination yet..ie; MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) or NEC (Navy Enlisted Code) , etc, etc.

Almost without exception, the folks are granted 10 -14 days leave after bootcamp to go visit home....especially if it is during the Christmas holidays because the services do not want the young men and women sitting around the barracks being sad and depressed. Most places actually shut down training for that 2 weeks between 17 Dec and 2 Jan. ALL bases work very hard to make trips home as easy as possible for the young folks.

Those who desire to go home can buy a ticket at bargain basement prices and use the money they have "saved" since they don't spend much during bootcamp. If they are married then momma and the rest of the family should be working on a "plan" now.

Please keep in mind that MOST of us have local charities that we may contribute to also..many of which are veteran related. Good luck with your effort and keep up the good work.

Semper Fi,
Steve...Pensacola
USMC 1972 - 2003
 

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Discussion Starter #3
just tryin' ta help

it's not me doing this. It's a guy named Ernie Stewart who runs www.ernieshouseofwhoopass.com . It's an off-color humor site. He was a clerk in the Air Force for 4 years. I think he is about 31 now. He has many, many, military subscribers. He spouts off patriotic all the time. You or HiAngle can check with any friends back in the sandbox and odds are they know about this guy. Last year his project brought home 75 marines&soldiers for the holidays who otherwise would not have made it.
I, a VN draft dodger, thought maybe all you military guys would help out these kids far from home. I know there are plenty charities around but this is strictly military with 98% of money collected going to the troops, not administration costs. What do all these "support our troops" bumper stickers mean?
 
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