Leta at From Cow Pastures to Kosovo has been working with Cheryl and Terry Blaskowski to set up a Welcome Home Party for the paratroopers of 2/503rd when they return from Afghanistan to their home base in Vicenza, Italy. Leta posts:
So many of your have been integral in providing literally TONS and TONS of support to the 2-503 while they are deployed for 15 months to eastern Afghanistan. These Warriors and their fellow Battalions in the Brigade have endured so much and still have a few months to go before they redeploy to Europe. As one last "Thank You" and to stamp our seal of appreciation on their deployment we are planning a Fourth of July "style" welcome home party for the 2-503. Of course there is just one tiny little detail or two...1) They are home based in Vicenza, Italy and have no American community to provide a proper welcome home and 2) We need to raise the funds to send over there for some good old American hot dogs, hamburgers, trimmings and BEER!...
I've spoken with Cheryl Blaskowski about this and I'm on board 100%. Our Paratroopers have given their all and, I believe, Sergeant Ski would have wanted them to come home to one helluva party.
Here's a note from Terry Blaskowski:
We would like to thank the people of Northern Michigan for their support and encouragement during the difficult period of the past six months since the tragedy of Matthew’s death.
The communities that have shown support have been a real blessing to us and our extended families and friends. Words do NO justice for our gratitude.
In the past, when Matthew left for deployment, the only thing to bring peace in our hearts was to think about his safe return. We know that won’t be happening now. However, Matthew and us have an extended family that reaches far beyond this place.
We recently learned that there are no plans for any welcome home celebrations for the 173rd, 2-503 Army Airborne Battalion when they return to their home base at Camp Ederle in Vicenza Italy after at least 15 months in Afghanistan, where they lived and fought in horrendous conditions. There is not a local American community in Italy to step up and put on a Heroes welcome for them, as so many would do here in the states. Very few of the soldiers will be returning to family or loved ones there in Italy. By far the majority of soldiers are single, with no family to welcome them back or home support to assist them in transitioning from war and death to peace and recuperation.
Cheryl and I, together with others, have been supporting the 173rd 2-503 Battalion troops, who continue to endure a tenacious tour of duty in Afghanistan that is not yet over, are asking that you join us in raising funds for a proper WELCOME HOME CELEBRATION when they arrive back in Italy. There will be approximately 2000 troops returning and we believe a GRAND CELEBRATION is well deserved. We would love to have banners flying there to show the support from communities throughout this nation in honor of our Sky Soldiers returning as well in memory of our Sky Angels of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
If we all pitch in, it is no great sacrifice for a few. A minimum of $125,000, is a small amount to do so much for so many soldiers; when added to other amounts raised by other communities around the U. S. of A.. It is hard to imagine the transition of so many Sky Soldiers who, we are sure, think it is “JUST THEIR JOB”.
Please join us in donating for the WELCOME HOME CELEBRATION for the 173rd 2-503 SKY SOLDIERS.
Checks can also be made payable to: 173rd Sky Angels Fund. The funds (100%) will be reserved for that purpose only (Sky Angels are our fallen soldiers of the 173rd Airborne).
Checks can also be made payable to any of the following Family Readiness Groups at Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy:
HHC Co 2-503 FRG
Able Co 2-503 FRG
Battle Co 2-503 FRG
Chosen Co 2-503 FRG
Destin Co 2-503 FRG
Fusion Co 2-503 FRG
The Army has rules, no one person or organization is allowed to donate more than $1,000 to any single FRG. So if a person or organization wants to donate more than $1000, (that would be fantastic) they would have to write one check to one FRG and another to a different FRG. The FRG’s are going to pool all the funds designated for the “WELCOME HOME CELEBRATION”.
Please mail all checks to:
173rd Sky Angels Fund
c/o Terry and Cheryl Blaskowski
PO BOX 164
CHEBOYGAN MI 49721
If you have any questions do not hesitate to call us at 231-627-9732, 231-818-2560 or email us at candtb-at-triton-dot-net .
To read about support that many great Americans have been joining together to provide to these soldiers go to www.tankerbabelc985.vox.com . Leta Carruth (she adopted Matt’s platoon and sent so much support to them) has been a driving force in providing support to our troops in Afghanistan.
With much gratitude,
Terry and Cheryl Blaskowski and family
Parents of SFC Matthew Blaskowski
Platoon Leader, Battle Company 1st Platoon
KIA 23 September 2007, FOB Vegas, Afghanistan
Here is the PayPal link that you can use to donate or you can send a check to the above address. We are looking for corporate sponsors as well (so tell your companies about this effort).
[As with all of the requests that I ask you to donate to, I donated to this cause this afternoon. And I hope to attend the party...once a Paratrooper, always a Paratrooper...]