Ladies of Liberty: To Pamper a Soldier
Posted On May 29, 2016
Our female troops sloth through muddied streets, endure sweltering weather and rain-darkened terrain, where the unknown lurks around every corner. A warm, soft washcloth after a hard day of training might mean serenity. Lighting a scented candle after being away from their children and loved ones for months, if not years, means home. Washing off their dirt-caked faces with an infused exfoliating face wash is a luxury beyond measure. Heavy with gear and weapons, boots and helmets are what these ladies sport; they are at war, not on trend.
To mentally and emotionally step away from danger for five minutes is a comfort most of us civilians can’t even imagine. “I totally need a mani,” the working girl says after a reluctant reach into her tote chips her nail. The hard working mom may pour a glass of wine, sink into a well-deserved bubble bath and be grateful for that small window of time to herself. These are much-needed gifts to ourselves because after all, we are women!
These pampered comforts go much further for the women who serve overseas. This is what the Ladies of Liberty give to the deployed female service members who serve in Afghanistan and the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy bases all over the world. Comfort.
That’s right! Gossip magazines, Beyonce’s latest single, gooey home baked rice-crispy treats, high-end shampoos and conditioners, soft washcloths, manicure sets, lavender scented organic soap bars, you name it… all the pampered favorites we indulge in at home, they ship them over there.
I had the great pleasure of speaking to Jennifer Cernoch, VP of Operations for Soldiers’ Angels, who is one of the bright spirits and strong forces behind Ladies of Liberty and all teams for Soldiers’ Angels.
“As you know, the majority of our military is male. They are deployed to combat
zones, humanitarian missions and many of the locations are not geared to support the female service member. When you are living in a tent… to get a candle in the mail that smells nice, it means the world.”
We are here to remind them that they are ladies, even in the environment of war
What is Ladies of Liberty?
From SoldiersAngels.org: ‘The Ladies of Liberty Team (LoL) is an all-female volunteer team who focuses on the specific needs of deployed female service members. We not only assist with basic care package items, but we also provide supplies for a woman’s unique health and hygiene needs. We also send scented lotions, makeup, and other items to help them experience a few pampering moments to rejuvenate themselves and remind them that they are ladies, even in the environment of war.’
This is what makes America Great
How can I help?
Personally, this is the reason why I wanted to do a story on Ladies of Liberty: It is so easy to help. The user interface of the website is simple. You create a profile and then with a click of a button, they send you a soldier’s name, a little bit about them and the military post office (MPO) address. Soldier’s angels have made it accessible. They have created a direct line from you to the soldier in need. AND it only cost me $2.17 to send a letter and $16.25 to send a package through priority mail (so no excuses, lol).
But just in case you need a breakdown, Ms. Cernoch mentioned, The Four T’s:
Time > Volunteer
Talent > Make cards, knit blankets, write letters, etc.
Treasure > Monetary donations
Talk > Spread the word
“I think that is what makes America great. It’s people stepping up to the plate and saying how can I help? It’ may not be a lot, but I can, at least, write a letter or a thank you card.” Ms. Cernoch continued, “When you have a soldier who is deployed and they aren’t getting anything at mail call and they are standing around waiting for their name to be called… Trust me, when their name gets called and to see they have received a letter from home, it’s incredible.”
Jennifer gleams at her job which she says isn’t a job at all, it’s the greatest pride to help these service men and women and here’s why…
They would go back
“I see them. I see the young service men and women who are missing limbs or severely burned and their attitudes are just remarkable. They would go back. They would go back to fight for this country and our freedom. They are willing to put their life on the line for us and I am blessed to do the work that I do,” she says proudly.
It doesn’t stop at Ladies of Liberty…
Ladies of Liberty is just ONE team under the Soldiers’ Angels umbrella. The Angel teams help out women both deployed and at home.
One of their recent programs provide virtual baby showers! Operation Top Knot was created to provide baby showers for military families to help ease the emotional and financial stresses of military life. If a man is deployed while his spouse is pregnant, Soldiers’ Angels makes sure he is right there with their pregnant spouses to open every bib, toy and baby diaper.
Another amazing program that helps our lady comrades is the Women of Valor program. It’s a very important team that provides support to female caregivers of Post 9/11 wounded, ill and injured service members.
“Sometimes with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury, their loved ones who come back from serving, don’t remember a birthday or an anniversary or are focused on getting a job and fighting for benefits. They often feel lost. So the Women of Valor volunteers are there to support the women who take care of their men and to show them that they aren’t forgotten either,” Ms. Cernoch explained in sympathy.
Soldiers’ Angels has evolved into so many teams that support ALL of our troops, both men and women. They range from Veteran support to aiding our wounded heroes, supplying iPads to the Medical Center in Germany, hand making cards, and even shipping homemade baked goodies. Some units even include our furry four-legged soldiers, so you can also sends care packages with doggie needs in mind!
Great Military Expectations
How did this all begin?
Patti Patton-Bader is the great-niece of General George S. Patton – for those of you unfamiliar, he is one of the century’s greatest military figures whose series of victories during WWII, were pivotal. So Patti comes from a long (seventh generation) military line.
She founded Soldiers’ Angels in 2003 when her oldest son was deployed in Iraq. Her son made comments that he was one of the few soldiers receiving care packages so Patti gathered some friends and neighbors and they began sending packages to his whole platoon.
“Everything we do is based on need,” Cernoch explained. “There are a lot of non-profits and great programs out there to support our military but, we are going to do what we can do to really fill in the gaps.”
We are still at war
If there is one thing you want our readers to know, what would it be?
“At the height of the Iraq war, we would see the bombing on TV and the night goggles and it was on TV every single night. And now you don’t see that. And I think people forget we are still at war. We still have troops over there. So let’s not forget them and continue to support them.”
And that is exactly what Soldiers’ Angels is doing.
So, what started out as a mom sending her son a care package back in 2003 has now turned into the largest volunteer-centered organization dedicated to supporting our troops, veterans, and their families. Today, only seven full-time staff members operate Soldiers’ Angels but include over 10,000 active volunteer’s country wide. “We do it on a wing and a prayer,” Ms. Cernoch concludes.
(Cue the bagpipes) I wanted to say thank you to Ms. Jennifer Cernoch, to the entire Soldiers’ Angels organization and, volunteers from around the country for helping others out of the kindness of your hearts. If everyone thought like you and acted like you, this world would be a different place.
Thank you to the troops who selflessly serve our country and humanity.
And to the women especially, you are brave beyond measure for walking the path that was set in your heart by the very power you fight for. Pampering you has been our privilege.
Watch the New You team build a beauty box for one of our brave Marines below:
Cover Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Article Photo’s Courtesy: Soldiers Angels