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Mike's Tour In Iraq

Welcome to my travel page of past and current tours in Iraq. Here is where I'll be keeping a journal of my activities, trips outside the wire and any other sites that I've had an opportunity to see while here in Iraq or home during one of my infrequent R & R's. It's also a place where I have the opportunity to connect with the real world back home and share some thoughts and feelings with family and friends. I hope you take a moment to wander through the site, look at some of the pictures or videos that I've uploaded and been fortunate enough to see or do. And please, feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 06 March 2010

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Everyone, thank-you for continuing to e-mail me and ask about donations. I'm sorry that I haven't updated this page but I find myself overwhelmed with work and have very little time to post on a daily basis. For those of you that don't know, I'm deployed to Mosul, Iraq, not the nicest of areas and certainly an area that's difficult to hand out toys in. At the current time, we've been instructed not to hand out toys when we are outside the wire. The reason for this is the current security issue that exists in this area, it's just not safe for us or our security team. We are able to hand out toys when in the Kurdistan region or when our security teams liason with local villages. Unfortunately, we, as civilians are still viewed as potential targets and therefore cannot take part in these handouts unless in Kurdistan. If your still interested in donating, I'll be here till the end of summer (I've been extended for one last tour) so I'll be here till then.

Donations are still being accepted and can be sent to any of the following addresses so they can be distributed to worthy children, my address is the first.

These are the addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRN
FOB Marez
APO AE 09334

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause

Monday, 29 June 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Unfortunately, this has been my first post in nearly two months. With my R&R, increasing workload and the additional tasks i've been trying to accomplish I've let this blog fall by the wayside. I apologize to our contributors for not keeping you posted on your donations and not posting photos. In the coming months I will take a more proactive approach to keeping this current. Most of your donations have been re-distrubted to Erbil and Dahuk, iraq. These areas are in the Kurdistand region and allow us more flexibility when meeting people. The area of Mosul still prevents us from getting too close.

Please continue with your donations, there are children and areas here that we still haven't reached.

Thank-you

Mike

Wednesday, 08 April 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Well, as usual I've lost track of time and this blog. Too many projects, not enough time and I've been traveling. I'll be trying to catch up during the course of the next few days but understand that there will be some days that won't have any entries since we those days were spent at training and I'll have nothing to write about.

I'll also be posting the names of individuals that have continued to support our toy distribution here in Mosul and the surrounding areas. To those individuals, thank-you and keep watching the picture pages for updated photos. We've distributed toys at least twice within the past three weeks.

Saturday, 04 April 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Thanks to the following individuals for their donations:

Charlotte Toolan
Diane Crowley
Gayle Ochryn
E. A. Geller
Christine McCarthy
Danyelle Warner
Delores Greenberg
Leanne Pethnck
Amy Deslaurias
Andrew Taylor
Gretchen DiTolla
Sara Galantowicz
Lori Stokes
The Pagamo Family
Roger D. Hermes
Linda Delucchi
Jennifer Seane
Tomas Perez
Victoria Scotti
Kaleb Conway
Rachael Turnquist

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Thanks to the following individuals for their donations:

John Shaw
James Frye
Tara Roy
Sarah Lusby
Cobheantz
Mark Heimrich
Jennifer O'Neill
Shannon Pedicord
Moana Peters
Karen Ward
Tom Roth
Kevin Cross
Jan Kaughman

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Thanks to the following individuals for their donations:

Lori Rankin
Jeanine Kerwin
P. Watson
Linda Fuller
Rachael Turnquist
Jennifer Nabholtz
Kthryn Simin
Tom Timmes

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Location: North of Mosul, Iraq

Dair Rabban Hurmiz is a orphanage and school that's cared for by the the Chaldean Church (previously, The Church of the East). The school is appropriately translated to House of Angels.

The location is approximately 34 miles north of Mosul and approximately 2 miles north-east of Alqush.

The Dair Rabban Hurmiz monastery is the most famous and most visited monastery in Iraq. Dair Rabban Hurmiz was the holy seat of the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East for several generations. Situated directly above a large cave in the Alqush mountain. The monastery overlooks a famous valley called 'Gali Al-dair' meaning 'valley of the monastery'. 'Shara D'Rabban Hurmiz' meaning 'the holiday of the monk Hurmiz' occurs every third Monday following Easter Sunday. Until a few years ago, the monastery was unreachable by automobile nor did it have electricity or running water. The monks relied on mountain springs and oil lamps for everyday life. The monastery contains several wings including a church with several alters, a burial site for saints and patriarchs( Baith Sahdeh) , a library currently containing manuscripts as old as 1497, 'Baith Sahdeh' or 'house of martyrs', 'Baith U'matha' or 'house of baptism', and over 40 small caves used by monks scattered all over the Alqush mountain. Some of the caves contain numerous carved writings pertaining to the date of establishment as well as other historical details. The monastery also includes large rooms carved in the mountain stone including a large dining room able to hold over 100 monks. This truly amazing 800 sq. ft. (15 ft. high) dining room is completely carved inside the mountain with small vertical portions left uncarved to act as support beams. The church contains the following alters:

The Raban Hurmiz Alter : The oldest and simplest in the monastery. The north and west walls are part of the mountain and the floor is made up of stone coffins. Includes stone carvings of 14 different types of crosses. The later is a monolithic stone type with a center groove containing white sand called 'khnana'. This 'khnana' is sacred to Assyrian worshipers and is usually brought from burial sites of certain saints.

The Mar Antonios Alter: Situated east of the Rabban Hurmiz Alter. This small (8x3 meters) room includes an alter with two finely carved boxes used to store the holy book, the cross, and various oils used in mass. The alter is made of white marble-like stone.
The holy Trinity Alter: The largest later of the monastery. Considered the formal church at the location. Contains Syriac carvings dating to the 15th century. The part of the monastery was renovated in 1485, 1667 (after an earth quake) , 1817, 1846, 1849, 1930.

The forty Martyrs Alter: Built in 1820 under the care of F. Gabrial with the blessings of the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Yosip II of Amid** The patriarchal burial Alter: Contains 9 graves belonging the patriarchs from the house of Aboona who led the Church of the East from 1497 to 1804.
Three graves belong to:
Mar Shimun V, 1497
Mar Shimun VI , 1538
Mar Shimun VII, 1558
Mar Elia V, 1591
Mar Elia VI, 1617
Mar Elia VII, 1660
Mar Elia VIII, 1700
Mar Elia IX, 1724
Mar Elia XI, 1804.

Establishment: Rabban Hurmiz came to the Alqush Mountain after spending several years in Dair Resha (The head monastery) with his colleague, Rabban Yozadaq who also left to the Nuhadra mountain. The monastery was built in 640 AD with the assistance of two Ninevite princes who witnessed miraculous healing by Rabban Hurmiz.*

History: Built during the patriarchship of Isho-yab II (628-644 AD). Became a famous location of learning and religion especially during the 10-12 century which brought up such Syriac fathers as Mar Yohanna of Halabta, Isho Barnon, Mar Ipni Maron, and others. The monastary was then attacked by Mongols under the leadership of Taimorlang. The monastic life returned to Dair Rabban Hurmiz a few years after, but on a smaller scale.

The 16th century witnessed the division of the Church of the East when Yohanna Sulaqa sided with Rome and established the Chaldean Church. In 1653, the Kurds attacked the Monastery causing the Patriarch, Mar Shimun IX, to move to Telkepeh (Telkaif) for a short period. Mar Elia XI returned to the monastery in 1714 and became the center of the Chaldean patriarch for four generations. In 1722, over 60 monks fled the monastery after the attack by Nader-Shah, and took refuge in the nearby Mar Mikha church in Alqush. Monastic life returned once again in 1808 under the care of F. Gabiral Danbu. The monastery continued successfully until the Kurdish uprising in North Iraq between 1963-1974 which caused the monks and priest to vacate the mountain. The Chaldean Church was able to return to the monastery in 1975 and has continued to care for it till today.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

To the locals it marks the coming of spring, to anyone that's not from the Middle East, it's eerily reminescent of The Mummy. A wall of sand as high and as wide as you can see that swallows the landscape. It moves with the wind and covers everything, nothing is immune to its strength. Within minutes a clear day can turn into a brownout, a day without the sun. As odd as it sounds, it happens. I've been here long enough to see an afternoon turn into night. A day where the sun disappears behind the sand and darkness takes over. A day where the rain runs brown because of the sand. The locals are used to it, th rest of us aren't. It reminds everyone of where they're at and the differences between home and here.

As odd as it sounds, I enjoy this season. Well, maybe not all of it. I enjoy the strength and the fury that comes with it. It reminds me of who and what we are. Of what we control and what we can't. It reminds me that I'm a small part in the grand scheme of things, that Mother Nature still rules and that we cannot control. I don't enjoy breating in all the sand, I don't enjoy the fact that it seems to find its way into everything. I live on a beach but never seem to track as much sand into my home as I do here. It reminds me of home.......it reminds me of a whiteout only the colors are different. The winds blow, the visibility lessens and driving becomes difficult. Almost like winter in New York. You see what Mother Nature allows......in most cases it's less than 50 meters.

I love this place.......

Monday, 09 March 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Bear with me, I'm having problems with my new computer.

Sunday, 01 March 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Well, I'm finally back....

The PX finally got a new shipment of computers, I broke down and bought a new one which should allow me to update the page daily again. Things are hectic here, the rainy season has arrived and it rains constantly.....we're just waiting for the ark to float by.

I continue to recieve e-mails from individuals asking if we're still accepting toy donations. If you're interestetd in sending toy, clothing or stuffed animal donations, please send them to the following address:

Kim Brown or Mike Fellenz
USACE-GRN-MAO
FOB MAREZ
APO-AE
09334

Sunday, 08 February 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Well my computer still isn't fixed and probably won't be until I go home in a few months. Shipping it through the mail and hoping it arrives is something I'm not comfortable with doing here. Too much mail is being stolen....it's a shame that mail coming and going to soldiers is being diverted or stolen.

Unfortunately, they'll be delays with my future posts....

Sorry

Friday, 06 February 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Not much happening here....projects are keeping me busy and with the computer being out I have little access other than with the one at work. I'm lucky enough to have someone share theirs with me but I hate being a pest.

Sorry

Friday, 30 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Ok, I've received some inquiries asking where i've been....well, my computer screen took a dump and I can't do anything with it. I'm using a friends and hoping the PX has some new ones on sale soon. There's something wrong when you buy a brand name laptop and the screen goes bad after only 14 months. Fortunately, I was smart enough to buy the 3 year extended warranty. This item alone is going to pay for that...

So, now that I have access to something and I can see what i'm typing I'll try and catch up on what I wasn't able to write.....

Thanks....

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Something new to talk about....now this is BIG news. My brother Bob who's been divorced for over 20 years has decided to take the big plunge again. Actually, I shouldn't say it like that....my brother got extremely luck with his bride-to-be Michelle. Michelle is a sweetheart who actually has my brother taking off his work boots at the front door before he comes in the house. Now, this may not seem like a big thing to most people but you have to know my brother. Anyway, I'd like to wish them both the best and tell them I wish I could be there but I doubt i'm going to be able to make it back for this.

Congrats and I hope you have as much happiness in your marriage as I've had with Monica.

Love you both and talk to you soon.....

Monday, 26 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

I'm guess I'm sort of a smartass at times...I enjoy pratical jokes and I tend to get carried away with them at times. We have a woman that works for HUD back in states that's currently working with us here. Kim is a great lady who rides Harleys and also has a friend back in Colorado that does the same. Well Kim and I decided to pull a little joke on her friend Linda never knowing how far it would get.....I had taken quite a few pictures while I was home on my R&R last July, some of them included me with the bike and out riding. Now, since Linda had never seen my bike we thought we'd spin a yarn about how I found it sitting behind some barn here and bought it for a mere $500.00. Just to add some flavor to the story I also had some pictures of me riding a motorcycle in Iraq during my 2005 tour. We edited the photos, put a couple of women in them and sent them off to Linda telling her we did a Mosul to Baghdad run once a week to drink beer and party. Now Linda, bless her heart swallowed it hook, line and sinker.......

While she thought it odd, we re-assured her that we did this once in awhile and if you drove fast enough you wouldn't get hit by any bullets. She believed it for a few weeks but then quickly realized that the pictures we had sent her were taken back in the states.

Linda, this one's for you.......you're a great sport......thanks for taking it in jest and keep your face in the wind hon.....

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

It's tough to shop here...even tougher when the big holidays are approaching. So, ever hopeful of finding something special for my wife and Valentines Day I ventured out on the base to see if I could find something. Yes, guys and gals we have a few stores on-base but the selection leaves alot to be desired or so I thought. Since my wife reads this blog I can't share with you what I got her right now but I can tell you that she'll enjoy it. My wife is always trying to get me to tell her what I buy her on her birthdays, Christmas, whatever holiday it is she'll try and get you to tell her. When I told her I'd bought her a serving tray to serve me breakfast in bed during my R&R's she didn't find it amusing......lol

I did.......

Only kidding hon, the boxes go out tomorrow so you should have them in time for Valentines Day sweetie

Love ya

Friday, 09 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

One good thing about Iraq are the movies....now I know your probably asking how the movies can be that good. well, it's because there are no copyright laws here. Believe it or not you can buy a movie that's hit the theater within 3 days here. All for the measly price of $2.00. now that's a bargain and my wife loves a bargain shopper.

Oh hon, all those things I bought for you while shopping in Erbil....well i'm sending them home to you. I hope you and Paige enjoy them....

love and miss you all

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

I've been asked to explain where most of the toys have gone. Alot have been shipped up north to Kuristan where it's easier for us to distribute. Others are being stockpiled for a mass distribution at a local orphanage. There are over 250 children at this facility and I need to ensure that we have enough to distribute to all these children. Unfortunately, we distribute toys to others to hand out (soldiers, PSD etc.) and while we request they take pictures and forward them to us, they don't always do so.

However, with that being said....it's extremely difficult for those individuals to come back and request items be donated if they haven't followed through on our gentlemen's agreement.

I hope this answers any questions you have....

Monday, 05 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

I'd like to thank everyone below for their donations. Your generosity has been overwhelming.

So, without further adieu, thanks to the following individuals:

Lori Rankin
Donna Ormandy
Joanne Passannate
Erin Black
Takahide Hori / Hsiao - hui Sung
Heather Bland
Jake Taylor
Prudence Law
Edmay Mayers
Catherine McLaughlin
Susan Patrick
Charlie & Maxwell Rosenblum
Sue Morris
Allan Giese
Beatrice DeShano

Thank-you all very much

Saturday, 03 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Well, the natives are restless. Seems as though there's an increase in activity outside the wire. As a result, we can't go look at our projects.

It's cold here, I should have realized it'd be colder here than what it got down south. My lovely wife sent me a winter coat.......thank-you sweetheart.....

She's so good to me

Thursday, 01 January 2009

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Yes, i'm back in Mosul and I just wanted to wish everyone a

HAPPY NEW YEAR


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Recent Messages

From tammy
Hi
just wanted to say hi and ask how you are doing. Are you home?
Tammy
Response: Doing well, hope you're feeling better Tammy
From Susan Pellegrino
Dear Michael,

Thank you for your service to our country and thank you for all that you do to make life a little brighter for the children you have encountered.

I am just now sending off my boxes of stuffed animals from my son\'s collection from over the years-- he is now almost 15 years old, so it was time!

I didn\'t write anything to accompany the boxes of animals, but my return address will be there.

My best to you and everyone. Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Susan Pellegrino
Response: Thank-you Susan
From Kim & Sarah Jordan
Hi Mike - Just checking out your site and saw your note about going home...thank you for all of the work you have done in spreading goodwill. Sarah was so excited about sending the first box and we definitely need to get another one together. Take care and best wishes for returning home!
Thanks,
Kim
Response: Thank-you Kim & Sarah
From Natalie
Dear Mike,
I cannot find current information as to whether you are still stationed in Iraq. I wish to donate toys to the children.
Thank you so much,
Natalie Morton
Response: Natalie, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Margaret
Hi Mike,

Are you still collecting cuddly toys?? If not, can you post a contact and address for a colleauge that is.
Thank You!
Response: Margaret, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Sandi
Are you still accepting donations of stuffed animals? If so, what is the most current address for us to use. Thanks!
Response: Sandi, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Vix
My 9 yr old daughter would like to donate a box of stuffed animals. We wondered which address is the one we should use:

* Michael R. Fellenz
USACE - GRN - MAO
FOB MAREZ
APO - AE 09334

* Edmay Mayers
USACE - GRN
FOB - Warrior - Kirkuk
APO, AE 09359

Please let us know. Thanx
Response: Kate, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Jeannine
Are you still collecting toys? If so can you please update the mailing address. Thanks!
Response: Jeannine, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Bruce Young
06 Nov 2009

Mike,

Are you still accepting stuffed toys?

Bruce
Response: Bruce, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Diana Briselli
I have just read about the project you are coordinating that involves giving Iraqi children stuffed animals (not pigs).
The last post is from the summer and I am wondering if you are still accepting stuffed toys?
Please email me to let me know. Not only do I have many to send, I would love to organize with friends to send even more.
Bless you and may you stay safe,
Diana Briselli
Response: Diana, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From phillis lehmer
What an inspiration you are for all of us.
Thank you for all the kindness you spread to the children of Iraq.

I just sent several boxes of stuffed animals to you at:

Michael R. Fellenz
USACE-GRN-MAO
FOB MAREZ
09334

Is this still the correct address?
Would you like anything?
Shall we keep sending toys,clothes?

thanks again to all of you:)
Be safe.
xo
ptl
Response: Phillis, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reacquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Stu Leben
As a local Goodwill we have stuffed animals by the thousands! Do you want them and how do we arrange this! I am very close to the airlift command at the Charleston, SC airport and would be willing to deliver them, Please let me know and thank you. Stu
Response: Stu, luckily for me, I'm getting ready to re-deploy back to the states within the next few months. After being here for over 3 1/2 years it's time for me to return home and reaquaint myself with my wife, children, grand-children and the rest of my family.

Donations are still being accepted but should be sent to the following address so they can be distributed to worthy children.

There are two addresses which can be used:

Michael Fellenz
USACE GRS
APO AE 09331

www.beaniesforbaghdad.com
info@beaniesforbaghdad.com

Thank-you again for donating to a worthy cause
From Kim Brown
I'm Mike's co-worker here in Iraq and I would like for all to know that Mike gives 110% to support the women and children of Iraq. We appreciate the kind hearted people of the US and abroad who makes this possible.
God Bless to ALL !
Kim Brown
Response: And thank-you Kim. Kim and Sara are co-workers who lend a tremendous amount of support with this effort. Without them we couldn't have accomplished what we have.

Thanks
From Silvia
Mike,
My daughter and I posted 3 packages for you on April 9. I hope they are well on their way to you.
We have had several people tell us that they were interested in sending you something as well. Are there any particular items that you would like to receive? Items that you would prefer not to receive?
I was thinking of sending some deflated soccer balls. Do you have a pump to reinflate them?
Thank you for everything that have done!
Silvia
Silver Spring, MD
Response: Anything you can send Silvia, we can use. Unfortunately, our pump broke. I received your boxes just before I went on R&R. Thank-you for your donations. I promise I'll be updating the site and posting more pictures in the coming weeks.

Mike
From Karen
Hi Bro!!

How's things...just want to wish you a Happy Easter and hope to see you real soon!!!
Response: Happy belated Easter sis
From Sarah
Mike, your contributors are heros! The trip to Sarsink worked out perfectly. The babies grasped the beanie babies with their tiny hands, the little girls grabbed the plush dolls and the boys jumped for the soccer balls. Everyone was happy and had a good time. The man in charge expressed his thanks over and over. I surely hope we can go back.
Response: Thanks Sara, I hope we get more so we can post more photos
From Sister...
Hi there Bro!!! It's really great having your site again...sure do miss you. I'm looking forward to seeing you when you get home again!!! Lots to catch up on. I assume from reading the below msg traffic that you're a grandfather a second time around...is it another girl??? Love & miss you lots and hope to be able and see each other very soon!!!
Response: Karen, sorry I missed you during my R&R. I promise once I'm done we'll get together for a week or two.

Love Mike
From CJ
P.S. Does the size of the box matter? Is it better to send several small boxes that one large one?

Thanks, CJ
Merrimac, MA
Response: Box size doesn't matter CJ, most if not all end uyp here inevitably.

Thanks again,

Mike
From CJ
Hello Mike, on Nov. 1, 2008 I mailed two boxes out. One was to Edmay and the other addressed to you. In each I enclosed a request asking to confirm receipt along with my email address. I did receive a wonderful letter from a commanding officer but I am not sure which it was in response to. My sister was in the Gulf War and she did not always receive my packages. I have more to send to you but I simply want to make sure they are being received. I'm sure you receive a lot of items and may not recall. Thank you for your compassion that you show these children and stay safe.

Sincerely,
CJ Pickard
Merrimac, MA
Response: CJ, I track all our packages on a spreadsheet and didn't see your name on our list. Depending on which addrss you shipped your packages to to it may have ended up at GRS HQ where I was previously assigned. They are continuing the drive so I'm sure your items went to worthy recipient. If the letter was signed by COL Drolet then I can assure you that the items went to the GRS office. I provided a current address where items can be shipped. And thanks again for thinking of us.

Kim Brown or Mike Fellenz
USACE-GRN-MAO
FOB MAREZ
APO-AE
09334
From Ashky Beans
Hey Daddy.. Sorry I dont have a phone near me very often, so I'll call when I can, but I'm happy you enjoyed the pictures. She is a cutie, ain't she?! :-) Did Monica tell you I saw her the other day at th mall? Wow! Paige is getting so darn big. She's such a beautiful girl! Just like her mommy... lol Anyways, I'll be sending more pics pretty soon. I love and miss you Dad!
Response: Sorry it's taken me this long to respond Ash. I promise I'll update this more often.

Love Dad
From Betsy Mills
Michael:

I sent you two boxes of items way back in September. I know it was a LONG time ago. I paid for delivery confirmation and according to my tracking numbers the packages never reached you. :( One box had stuffed animals and another had clothes. I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I don't expect you'll remember if you received them because I'm sure you get a lot of things. Plus, I also just read that you said mail often gets stolen so I wondered if that could have happened. Anyhow, if it did I hope that whoever got the items was able to use them! Thank you for all you are doing for our country!

Sincereley,
Betsy
Raleigh, NC
Response: Betsy, I'm sorry it's taken this long to respond but my computer crashed. Both your boxes were recieved and all the items were distributed. I have more pictures that I'll be uploading soon.

Thanks again for your donation.

Mike
From C
Are you still recieving stuffed animals, if so, what is the current address?
Response: Yes C, we are still accepting donations. All items can be shipped to
the following address and thank-you very much for
your donation to the
children of Iraq.

Kim Brown/Michael Fellenz
USACE-GRN-MAO
FOB MAREZ
APO-AE
09334
From Ashky Beans
I sent the pictures the other day.. So you should receive them in the next week or so. I understand, you gotta work..lol.. Things have been kinda crazy over here as well, Stephen still hasn't got his job back so Thank God for his mother because she has been helping us out with EVERYTHING! She's like our guardian angel! I also wanted to talk to you about something. I wanna get Brett & Elia here for a few days when you come back to visit in April. So maybe we could split the cost? Still waiting to find out if Bretts got the ok though. So we'll talk about it more when we can. But yeah, you should have the pics pretty soon! Love you Dad!
Response: Ashley, she is beautiful.....please give me a call when you get a chance, we'd like to know if you recieved your box.

Love,

Dad
From Ashky Beans
Hey Daddy! Just wanted to see how you were doing... we don't have any minutes on the phone or anything so it's kinda hard to get a hold of you. But just wanted to say hello and we love you! And today we'll be taking pics with the digital camera so we'll be sending you a few! Miss You!! XOXO
Ash, Stephen and Khloe Mae
Response: Ash, sorry it's taken me this long to respond. Things here are hectic and I've been busy as usual. I want pictures of my new grand daughter.....so please send me some. Look forward to seeing you soon honey....

Love and miss you..

Dad
From Dawn
Happy New Year! I've been thinking about you. Take care of yourself. Love the pictures. Take a picture of one of those giant camel spiders. That would be cool! Cya.
Response: Thanks Dawn, actually the camel spiders here aren't as big as what they have on the internet. Those were taken very close which makes them appear larger than they really are. Another urban legend put to rest....

Love ya,

Mike