Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Keep Calm and Support our Troops!

UPDATE May 9, 2013!

Today's the day I go to Camp Pendleton's Warrior Hope and Care Center to deliver all of the gift cards purchased by readers and by donations from readers and me. Last night, I pretty much cleaned out two grocery stores in Solana Beach (and caused some fuss with the fraud alerts on three credit cards before I realized I needed to call and confirm it actually was a legitimate purchase). 

Here's the first $1,875 in cards I purchased at Vons:

Then I headed across town to Albertson's and bought $2,275 more (I maxed the register out several times at $500):

 And when I got back to my vacation rental, I combined them with the cards I had collected in Kansas City and via snailmail leading up to the big day. In the upper-righthand corner are some certificates for free e-book downloads by some of my author friends who donated them at the Romancing the Plaza book signing in Kansas City. 

I'll still need to pick up a few hundred dollars more to reach my grant total of $5205 (rounded up) collected and purchased gift cards. What a blessing this will be to so many who have given SO much for us. And the contributions came from around the United States, plus one from Canada and two from England! 

Here's the original blog where I announced this project. Next collection will be for an Army facility that treats the wounded and I'm still trying to determine which one I'll use. That drive will be in July/August and at the signing at the Authors After Dark conference in Savannah on August 17. Stay tuned!

Since announcing on Facebook last week that I'm doing a collection of gift cards (and donations) for wounded warriors being treated at Camp Pendleton (where I'll hand deliver the donations in the week after the Romantic Times Convention), I've received the first six donations--and two came from readers in the United Kingdom via PayPal! This started out with me announcing I'd be collecting gift cards while in Kansas City next week--during the the Expo signing I'm doing at Romantic Times Booklovers Convention on May 2 (Sheraton Crown Centre from 4-6 p.m.) and at my separate signing event with 30 other authors called Romancing the Plaza (Marriott Country Club Plaza from 2-5 p.m. Central on May 4). Then I thought why not give my online friends a chance to contribute, too. While time is running out for you to get me a physical gift card by mail (see below), I can accept PayPal donations through at least May 5 using my kallypsomasters@gmail.com account, then I will match that dollar amount up to $3,000, round it up, and purchase Amazon, B&N, Walmart, and other gift cards for online places our warriors can shop for books, video games, movies, etc. 

Why am I doing this? 

Aside from the fact these are the heroes and heroines I love to write about, one of my readers is the mother of a Marine who was treated at Camp Pendleton's Warrior Hope and Care Center after injuries he received in Iraq. She said they soon learned how hard it is for the patients over weekends when there isn't as much therapy work to do. While her son could eventually go home on weekends, he often returned for another week of treatment and therapy only to find there had been several more suicides over the weekend. She said that having movies, video games, and books are a great diversion for them, which sparked this idea to collect gift cards and donations so they can purchase more of these items. That sparked the idea of collecting these cards to take to them.

What You Can Do
Send gift cards in ANY denomination ($10, 20, 25, 40, 50, or more--and in any foreign demonimation, too because Pay Pal will convert it to USD) that can be used at online sellers of books, movies, video games (Amazon, B&N, Wal-Mart, etc.). While I'd prefer to work only with gift cards, if you'd prefer to claim it on your taxes, send a money order or cashier's check (no personal checks, please) made payable to THE WOUNDED WARRIOR REGIMENT and I will deliver those, as well, if received on time (see below).

Where and When to Contribute
* If you can have your donation arrive in my PO box no later than Monday, April 29, please send it to: Kallypso Masters, PO Box 206122, Louisville, KY 40250. (However, any cards that arrive late will be added to the collection total after I return from my Missouri/California travels and will be mailed to my contact at Camp Pendleton's WH&C center later.)
* If you or a friend will be at the May 2 Expo signing Romantic Times Booklovers convention in Kansas City, I'll be collecting at my signing table.
* I'll have two 30-minute sessions in the Club RT room on Friday, May 3--you'll find me at 11:15-11:45 a.m. and 3:45-4:15 and happy to talk, sign, and accept donations at that time.
* If you or a friend will be at the May 4 Romancing the Plaza (Kansas City) book signing (Marriott Country Club Plaza from 2-5 p.m. Central), I'll be collecting there, as well.
* Or you can send a PayPal donation to kallypsomasters@gmail.com--clearly labeled FOR WOUNDED WARRIORS—and I'll purchase the gift cards myself when I get to San Diego County on May 5 to take a break (and WRITE!) while I also prepare for the Rescue Me Sightseeing Tour on May 13 (seats still available!)!

My Ongoing Commitment to the Troops
Because I write about wounded warriors and many of my readers are either veterans, active-duty military personnel, and family members of each, I committed publicly last year to donating thousands of dollars every year to organizations that help our awesome heroes. In effect, every time you buy one of my books, you're donating, as well. For this particular gift-card drive, I plan to match whatever my readers donate directly in monetary and gift card donations (up to $3,000, because I'm also in the advanced guard making monthly donations to the Wounded Warrior Project).

So far, we're at $364.36 (half from readers and half my matching donation). My goal (as you can see in the thermometer widget at upper right on my blog) is to collect/donate $6,000 (half from me and half from readers). All of those $10 or $25 cards will add up quickly because I'll immediately double each one in the first $3,000. Cards in higher denominations can be used to purchase eReaders, gaming systems, DVD players, and such for the common areas at the center. I'll tally up donations as quickly as possibly after the above events and update the widget. I wanna see Blue! (And I don't mean basketball, either!)

I'll be hand-carrying these gift cards and donations to Camp Pendleton sometime between May 7-9 (escorted on base by a wounded warrior amputee who is still active duty AND rides a Harley--no, I won't be riding on the back, but he's so awesome I can't wait to meet him!). I will make sure the people I talk with there know who these generous donations came from. I'll also take them any cards/letters/notes you send with your gift card or donation or to my mailbox.

I'm going to do a similar gift-card collection starting in July through early August before attending the Authors After Dark conference in Savannah Aug. 14-18. That drive will benefit a US Army wounded warrior project yet to be determined. (So far, all of the wounded warriors who have come to me to tell their stories have either been Navy, Marine, or Army. Of course, the Navy and Marines are treated in the same facilities, and since those books have been published, I chose to start with the Camp Pendleton care center.)

Thanks for supporting our heroes! God bless the troops--and your giving heart!