The easiest way to explain this is to read the following letter from Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Steve Osterholzer who was a soldier in our program many years ago and now on the Board of Directors.
Dear Fellow Soldiers,
As someone who has been in your boots, I’d like to tell you what AAUSS is and what it isn’t. I’ve been where most of you are at…far from loved ones, working tremendously long hours to accomplish Herculean missions, often with little sleep, comforts, or even much thanks. So first, on behalf of every American back home, let me give you my deepest and most heartfelt thanks. You are the ones putting your lives on the line and sacrificing so deeply for those of us back home. Given the recent drawdowns in Afghanistan and other spots around the world, you may think that America has forgotten that right now, at the very moment you’re reading this, soldiers are continuing to sacrifice so much for the sake of freedom. Let me assure you, however, that literally MILLIONS of patriotic Americans are standing behind you and standing ready to help you. You and your comrades out on the front lines are the threads woven into our nation’s flag and a tremendous number of caring people are eager to support you during this challenging time.
There are several important points about AAUSS that you need to understand, about what it is and what it isn’t. First of all, what it is not: a dating site. If you are looking for romance please look elsewhere, as there are no shortage of online opportunities out there to find companionship of the romantic type. My experience with AAUSS has been that the vast majority of sponsors are “family” type of people who are commonly married, widowed, or entire families eager to support soldiers just like you. When they selflessly volunteer to become a sponsor they are informed of what is appropriate and non-appropriate interactions between them and the soldier they adopt. Inappropriate communication that is not consistent with AAUSS’s mission of “connecting supportive civilians with deployed troops to communicate encouragement and gratitude to those brave men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces” is to be reported to the volunteers who selflessly run the organization. You can be removed from the program for inappropriate behavior so please act with the professionalism our country expects of its service members.
Another important point to understand is that so many people are EAGER to help! When I was deployed and adopted by several AAUSS sponsors, I often felt that I was imposing on them. That when I asked for care package items that I felt a bit guilty and refrained from asking for things that I truly did need. Trust me: these people are so very willing and WANTING to help you! That is the reason they signed up to adopt a soldier in the first place: they care and they want YOU to know that you are cared about. Currently there are more people who have signed up to adopt soldiers than there are soldiers waiting to be adopted. So please…let these great
You doubtlessly know of a brother or sister in arms that could use some support. I’d encourage you to tell them about Adopt A US Soldier so that they too can feel supported. I personally decided to “be adopted” during a very dark and difficult time during my deployment…and I can’t tell you the hope and encouragement I felt when I heard my name being called during mail call. Think about those “sharing your foxhole” who could benefit from hearing their name called or to sink their teeth into a cookie made with love from those back home in the country they are fighting to defend.
Thank you, my brothers and sisters in arms. You are fighting for all of us back home and there are so many of us here eager to show you that you are supported. Thank you for answering our country’s call.
Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Steve Osterholzer