It is October 3rd,2014. All of the Charlotte Metro Camden Properties are closed for the day. Why you might ask? Well, doing good things of course! The Camden Cares volunteer effort was in full swing all day long! The September/October Camden Cares initiative focused on working with the Charlotte based chapter of the USO (United Service Organizations).
Many may remember that throughout the month of September all Camden Properties in Charlotte had a donation box set up in the Welcome Center. We were asking anyone to donate unopened, new goods to the USO.
For those that do not know what USO is, here a brief historical explanation. The USO is a “non profit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to the US troops and their families”. Founded by President Franklin D Roosevelt at the start of the second World War in 1941, the USO’s primary goal was to “provide morale and recreation services to US uniformed military personnel”. The USO was responsible for the uplifting deliveries of food, drink, magazines, letters and live entertainment for the soldiers directly from the Homefront. This was a great way to keep the morale of the soldiers lifted during dark times. Celebrities from Mickey Rooney, Bob Hope and even the lovely Marilyn Monroe traveled both the USA and abroad to perform for the soldiers, free of charge.
This month, Camden Cares was a part of a historically long superstar lineup. The Charlotte’s initiative was focused on writing “Thank You” cards to members of our actively serving military personnel and making para cord bracelets. Employees from both the office staff and maintenance staff joined forces making and writing these items. To anyone who has ever volunteered in either of these two categories, you know how difficult this was. The para cord braiding was complex. Having to remember each pattern while following the repetitive nature of the braiding itself was oftentimes painful – both physically and mentally. The “Thank You” card writing was equally taxing. Although scripts were provided to help us along, many of the writers were freelance writing cards. This work was almost as hard as lifting weights. It is truly amazing what humans can do when love and dedication are part of the task.
By the end of the day, 1,536 para cord bracelets had been made, 316 “Thank you” cards had been written and the Charlotte chapter USO stated that this donation had been “one of the largest they’ve received in over 2 years”.
Throughout this experience I was reminded of the fact that this great country we all call “home” was not born free. The freedom we all enjoy today was earned by the brave men and women that risk their lives for strangers everyday. It was nice to be able to give back. To know that someone will smile while reading our letters, that a life might be saved by wearing a para cord bracelet we braided. Each and every one of us should be grateful for the kindness an unknown person shows us everyday by securing our safety and maintaining our freedom.
Our community service day was a huge success and a wonderful learning experience for those of that were able to take part. With that being said, Camden would like to thank the Charlotte chapter USO for allowing us to be part of this age old organization that never ceases doing good things for others.
Camden would also like to thank the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, both past and present. Know that you have a nation standing behind you.