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Supporting The Troops Of Northeast Pennsylvania

Good day to all. My name is Dawn Rogers and I put this support group together for many reasons, so let me start. It all started back on 911 I was driving a school van when I heard what was happening, I couldn't believe what I was hearing and new just then what was going to happen next.

I have 4 sons of all that are in the military and knew some place along the way they would get caught in a war of some kind from this 911 deal. So in February 2004 the oldest son Matt who is in the 101st airborne out of Fort Campbell Kentucky, began speaking of his leaving for Iraq. When he finally called to tell me that he was leaving we thought that we had about a week. Man was we mistaken.

It was very bad weather here in PA. So I waited until Wednesday mid day, and getting in to Virginia I hit snow once more, 18 inches to be true. But on I went, I really don't know how I did it but I did and I can't tell you the trip was not easy. It, was the worst time and I was alone, no one to chat with no one to say you'll be ok, nothing. And I had no idea that this was going to change my life so drastic.

When I got to Kentucky Matt met me and said that he had a lot of things to get done in a little time, so again on we went, him checking with the office often to see what was happening, the tension was thick by all. They had been putting things in storage, and was very little of that. I saw more of their hard earned belongings on the side of the streets and along the dumpster. I thought what a shame and felt helpless to say the least. Matt and I spent the day running back and forth around the base getting things together, he did this with such power and strength. I was feeling very proud of him as I do with all my sons. Toward evening he got another call to go do something else, I just shook my head to think that they just drop all their plans to jump and get things done, with pride at that.

It was getting near 6 pm when another call came in and he was told that they were leaving at 5am the next morning to depart Kwaite. I just could believe that this time had come so fast with very little time. I sure had all that I could do to hold the tears back. Then it was getting late I again said "Matt what about your dinner?" We had skipped lunch, and now we were skipping dinner he then told me that this happens often as there is not always time for a meal. I can't tell you how then I felt and the whole time he was gone that was on my mind was he getting a meal or was he just trucking on about do for us to keep us all safe.

The morning came and we went to where he was dropped off and I left to come home I was tired sleepy, alone and very upset. I could only ask God to watch and take care of him, for the first time I felt helpless. My family back here was great, my husband Bruce knew that I was in no shape to drive home yet. I went to Nashville got a motel I need to rest as I still had a 13 hour drive again alone. I tried to rest but something woke me fast, I then went down to the car and found Matt's orders on my seat, oh man was that a hit.

I called the numbers that had been in touch with him and told them what I had found, and with that I proceeded back to the base. I was an hour away from the base, traffic was heavy. I found my way back to the Staff Sergeant who told me out to the air field , or at least we started to go out , when we had a white van going out to the field and the Sergeant had said watch they don't realize it is me and will go the other way, because at that time they to were watching for the white van, and that's just what happened they went the other way, security was very high, no one took any thing for granite.

We then went out to the air field to wait, upset, nervous, worried as I didn't want him in any trouble. We are all human and I was being told that by the staff. They were great and stayed with me. Then spirits were really high, Matt's bus came I saw him and gave him his paper work. Man was he shocked to see me.

And that looked stayed with me the whole time he was gone. The drive home was tough hard to say the least. The people that I worked with were and still are my back bone, as I work at supper market service in Dunmore, PA. The support that they gave me was great and still is.

Once back in PA, a lady Lisa thompson called me from a support group in fort Campbell to tell me what I could do and what to watch for, what to do, and most of all to be careful, as no one knew what was about to happen. Don't open any mail I don't know who was from, and not to tell anyone his address or send him anything from anyone but me. Now to tell you the truth I was scared for us as well as Matt or any of my sons as we to were on a very high alert

It was months before I heard from Matt, you see he left on our wedding anniversary March 2, 2003. And they had a support rally in town, I wasn't sure if I could of done that or not or would of something happen to us him, I had no idea.

I went and it was all going to change. My cousin said why not put a float together for Memorial Day parade. Well that wasn't much time to get ready, but on I went, we did just that. I thought for days to come up with an idea, and came up with the flag idea. The float was on and running, flags were put together and assembled on a tractor trailer. The float was a hit.

Still, No one called to see how I was, no one seemed that cared other than work, no one knows what a mom and wife is going though, when their son is off fighting to keep us safe and free.

I too watched CNN and CNBC as well as having email alerts sent to me all about the 101st. Matt was located in Camp UDAIRI, and they moved often.

When President Bush declared war I was worried. Again helpless and alone not knowing no one to ask questions. When we did speak he couldn't tell me again anything, and once again I felt alone and helpless. Then an email came through saying 'hi from Mozul, Iraq.' Matt was fine. The letters came from his Sargent. They are so very special to me. Matt couldn't always get letter to me, busy I would say, and him not knowing what to say or not say.

Hello Dawn.
So nice to hear from you once more.
It was another hot one today. It's gotten to the point where I don't even care what the temperature is… it's just hot!J Other than that, it's a normal day here in Iraq.
Ah, so you wish to know a little about me… that's only fair. Well I'm original from Georgia and I'm a army brat. Dad was in for 24 years and the same year he retired is the same year I joined up. I hit the 20 year mark this month. I'm 41, married with two sons. The family is back at Fort Campbell, not so patiently waiting for me to come home,J this is not my first deployment to a real-world conflict, so put your mind at ease that Matt is in good hands.
You never told me what it is you do. Don't tell me you work for some secret organization and you'd have to cut my head off and stick it in a safe if you told me!J
Have a pleasant day!
SFC Mitchell


Hello Dawn,
I trust this letter will find you in good health and good spirits. Everyone here is doing well on this hot Sunday morning. Matt is doing well and is presently at the airfield working on the helicopters.
Congratulations on all the first place finishing your float has achieved. I must say it is a rather impressive display. I wish you well in August…but from the previous performances, you won't need it.J
There's no need to send a digital camera unless Matt asked for one or you just want him to have one. We have a couple here, so I will be able to get a picture or two of Matt for you.
Other than that, things are pretty quiet right now. I'm hoping that it will remain that way. What do you have planned for the day? I hope you have plenty to do that will keep you from dwelling on things you have no control over. But if I remember correctly, that's part of being a mom, so I guess that's not going to happen, right?J
Have a wonderful day and I guess I'll see you in the next letter.
You're Friend,
SFC Mitchell

Then another,

Hi Dawn,
Just a short note to say hello and to let you know that we are all fine. Matt is safe at the airport in Mozul…I always have 4 members of the platoon up there at all times. We have a FARP (Fuel and Re-arm Point) there so I have to have people there to work it. They rotate out every two weeks.
I'm sure you've been watching the news and seeing all the excitement that's going on in Mozul since we took out Saddam's sons. Don't worry, like I said Matt's okay and doing fine.
How have you been? Is the float almost ready? In a little over a week you have another competition, right?
Sorry this is so short, but I have a meeting to go to. Hope you're having a wonderful day and I'll talk to you next time.
SFC Mitchell

I went on to send supply's to my son on my own , no help no support knowing what I was going through, feeling helpless alone I didn't want another family to feel this way, so I started the 'Supporting the Troops in Wyoming Co'. But my support wasn't in Wyoming Co. it was everyplace else, but I sent letter to several V.F.W. looking for support to raise money to send supply's, or help with the postage, something. Again, alone the not knowing stinks, we finally got a V.F.W. 7251 in Throop to sponsor me. I finally heard from Matt a few days before Memorial Day.

The parade was a success and we did well but taking it apart was too much, as we all felt it was an ending of the start, but I went on and bought an old hay wagon and made it into a float. The funding was out of my own pocket, the hard work and sweat was my cousins and some friends and family. We just didn't want it to end.

We have done parades, and the fair at Wyoming Co. we got a few donations but not the support and help that I think should be happening in the area. So I went on and promised myself that if I could help it in any was that no one would go through what I did , or feel like that either. motto: " NO SOLDIER OR FAMILY MEMBER SHALL BE LEFT BEHIND NO MATTER WHAT BRANCH OF THE MILITARY OR WHAT COUNTY THEY ARE FROM OR WHAT PART OF THE COUNTRY THEY ARE SERVING IN, THEY ARE ALL OUT THEIR DOING THE SAME JOB, PROTECTING OUR FREEDOM AND OUR COUNTRY"

Matt came home a week before Christmas, in Kentucky, I again went down. Relieved, relaxed, still ready to help anyone. For I know what it feels like.

Now I will go through it again as I now have another going to Iraq, or Afghanistan. One is just as bad as the other. I am stronger, tougher and we now have support for each other that wasn't their before. It has taken me a year to get this off and running and it is starting to form.

What we do:

This is the letter that I sent to several v.f.w s

570-836-1098 HOME
570-470-8391 CELL

September 11, 2003

Commander Potoski
VFW Post 7251
179 Boulevard Avenue
Throop, Pa. 18512

Dear Commander Potoski:

My name is Dawn Rogers; I am a mother who presently has all my sons active in the military. My son Matt is with the 101st Division out of Ft. Campbell, Ky., he has been stationed in Iraq since March 1, 2003.

Since the Iraq war started, a group of concerned families, totaling over 25 members, has formed an organization called "Support The Troops" of Northeastern, Pa., which I preside as president. Our main goal is to raise funds to send much-needed items, which are not readily available to our troops. We feel all soldiers appreciate care packages, and correspondence from home to remind them they have our full support.

At present, we have a military float, representing all branches of the service. We have participated in several parades, and displayed our float at local fairs. I personally purchased the float and all the flags, however the maintenance and fuel can become costly. So far our organization has depended solely on donations. We as a group would like to start selling raffle tickets to raise much needed funds to support our troops.

In general, we are asking for the support and sponsorship from VFW Post 7251 to help us raise funds. Our organization will guarantee that all funds raised will be used solely to benefit the young men and women of our military.

Your consideration and support would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me at (570) 836-1098 (home) or (570 470-8391 (cell). Hope to hear from you soon.

President, Support The Troops, of Northeastern, Pa.

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Last Updated: October 21, 2004

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