Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Store That Love Built

The Store That Love Built:
12 Jan 2008
By CH (CPT) Bryan Smith 4/2SCR USA

“Greater love hath no man then this, than a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. On November 14, 2007, 2LT Peter H. Burks gave his life for his friends, the men of 4th Platoon, Palehorse troop 4th Squadron 2nd Calvary Regiment. His family, fiancée and friends were stunned and grieved by the news of Peter’s death. As a chaplain, I expected this response from those who knew Peter so well. It was what happened next that neither I nor the men of Palehorse troop could have ever imagined. Peter’s family, his mom, Mrs. Jackie Merck, his dad, Mr. Alan Burks, and fiancée, Miss Melissa Haddad, fought their way through their own personal grief and rallied an entire community to support our troops. We began to receive care packages in the mail from people in Texas, from towns and communities I had never heard of before, towns like McKinney, Frisco, Duncanville, Celina and Garland. And the packages kept on coming. It wasn’t long we had received over two hundred care packages for our Soldiers. As I prayed and thought about how I could best honor the memory of Peter and show my appreciation to all those people in Texas whose cards and gifts kept coming in, it hit my mind that I should open a country store in Pete’s honor. So with the support of my Commander, LTC Antonio Aguto Jr., we celebrated the grand opening of the “Peter Burks Country Store” at Forward Operating Base Prosperity here in Baghdad on Christmas Eve 2007. Two hundred and twenty five Soldiers came by in two hours and picked up food, clothing, hygiene and gift items from the store at absolutely no cost. We also gave out several door prizes that people had sent us such as: Xbox controllers, CD’s, DVD’s and CD players. We continue to open the store twice a week and Soldiers can come by and get whatever they want for free. As I think now of the store, the sacrifice and the love that 2Lt Peter Burks had for his men and the kindness of some people in Texas, I can’t help but weep. The Peter Burks store truly is the store that love built.

Pete's regiment is in the process of deploying again. We don't know where, but we know it must be a hot spot. They call in the Cavalry when all hell breaks loose.

As this regiment of 5,000 brave men and women head into battle, the Peter Burks Country Store deploys with them.

We need your help to stock it. With love.

There are two ways you can help.

1. You, your church or synagogue or mosque, your company, your neighborhood, your kid's school can collect goods that we will ship. Here's what they want. Really complicated stuff:

-Salty snacks (pistachios, peanuts, Spicy Cheetohs, etc.)

-Healthy snacks (Clif Bars, Powerbars, etc.)

-White socks

-Red Vines and Gummi Bears

-Powdered Gatorade packs (to put in their Camelback water pouches to get them thru 125 degree days with 80 pounds of body armor on)

-Hand sanitizer (since showers aren't readily available)

-DVDs, CDs, Xbox consoles and games and controllers (yep, they are still kids)

-Handwritten letters from you and your family

-Playing cards

-Beef jerky

-Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, eye drops, swabs

-Anything non-perishable, shippable and that would tickle a scared 18 year old and let them know somebody cares

Contact me at alan.burks@gmail.com and we will figure out how to get it picked up and shipped.

2. Cash

Our largest expense is postage. That's the only way to ship into a war zone. You can go to to www.unsungherofund.org to learn more and donate via PayPal or check.

To date, with your help, we have shipped over 7 tons of care packages into Iraq and Afghanistan.

With your help again, more tons of love will be on their way.

We will start shipments in early June.

These 5,000 will know that somebody in America cares about their sacrifice based on what you do.

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