Monday night East Hampton proved to me yet again that it's a great place to live. We met at the church to pack up the boxes with all the donations we've received for the two Marine units that an East Hampton boy is serving with in Iraq.
When we put the call out a few short weeks ago for donations I never expected the amazing response that we'd get from the community. For three weeks people have been calling, e-mailing, and stopping by my house to find out what they could do. Donations of candy, socks, games, books - all kinds of things - poured in. As the pile in the church grew I looked on in amazement and wondered how we were ever going to get everything boxed up and ready to mail. I even received a call from LCpl. Jordan Haerter's father (Jordan was from Sag Harbor and was tragically killed last April in Iraq) who wanted the Jordon Haerter Fund to pick up the mailing costs. Businesses, like White's Pharmacy and Kahn's Sporting Goods wanted to make contributions. The Town PBA wanted to know what they could buy for us. And offices from as far away as MTV in NYC called to see what they could bring. Most gratifying of all were the dozen or so knitters who offered to knit a special glove/mittens pattern out of the wool the church had purchased. Amazing, all of it.
Then last night we met in the church sanctuary to sort the piles of donations and pack them for mailing. I assumed there would be about ten of us doing all the work. There were about thirty people who came - some church members, some strangers. With very little instruction they all jumped in and worked for over two hours, sorting, bagging, boxing and labeling the nearly fifty mailing boxes we eventually put together. Then, because a volunteer from the post office had come to help, we loaded the boxes into trucks and took them over to the Wainscott Post Office at 9:45 and offloaded them so the staff there could get them ready for pick up today.
At the end of the evening we lit candles and sang "Silent Night" as we stood around those packed boxes, each with a photo of LCpl. Jordan Haerter stuck onto the side with a notation that they were being mailed out in his honor. As the pastor prayed for the boxes' arrival and the safety of those that they were destined for, the tears flowed freely all around.
Just one more reason why I love East Hampton.