I would like to take a few moments from fighting this war in Afghanistan to thank all of my friends, family and the local businesses who have been kind enough to send my platoon and I such wonderful care packages and heartfelt greetings, especially the gracious folks at Red Lobster. Though most of the men who serve with me are not from the heartland, because of your generosity they now know the warmth and hospitality of the fine folks of Southeast Missouri.
Everyday we brave some of the most harsh terrain and engage an unrelenting and determined enemy. I would be lying if I said that we don't sometimes wonder why it is we're fighting, but then we come back to our temporary shelters and we have these care packages waiting for us. It's in these moments that we are reminded of the fact that it is for the patriotic and generous folks such as yourselves in Southeast Missouri that we are willing to place life and limb in harm's way. It is people like you who unselfishly place the needs of others above your own, who have not forgotten those of us who are still out here fighting this war and defending the cause of freedom for our Afghan brothers and sisters.
On behalf of myself and the fine men of the "Black Sheep" Platoon, I say thank you and God bless.
SPC. JESSE A. VENABLE, Scott City, Mo.