IBOL, and Life

IBOL ]I[ came and went, as did Ramadan.  It was a strange month in which to be in Baghdad, both for the holiday celebrations that shaped the events of the country, and the ongoing debate over whether there would be a continued US Forces in Iraq after 2011.

The hundreds of bundles sent to Afghanistan, as part of the 3rd iteration of IBOL this year, were met with open arms and dropped from airplanes to locations all across that country.  Ditto for the special project bundles.  Ramadan was a great, great month, and with all my thanks, I am happy to say a very productive one.

But that being said, I’ve closed the shutters on IBOL.  After Ramadan had blown through Iraq like a hot breeze, I packed up and snuck home to a tropical island for some much needed R&R.  And to surprise my son, for his birthday and in conjunction with Lifetime’s TV show, Coming Home.  Supposedly, they’re off editing it now, and supposedly, they’re planning to use our sordid tale.  They said something about us being funny or something.  I’ve no idea when it will air, but really, I’m more interested in getting home to watch it with them in my own living room with my family at my side.

Will there be an IBOL 4?  I’m not planning on it.  I think to do another one, I’d have to head back out to the wilds again, and with all things being equal, I’d just as soon sit and sip mojitos. Do I still think about it?  Absolutely — I read articles like this one and think to myself, hmmm, I bet we could help him out.  But for now, I I’m more focused on closing up Iraq.

If you need me, I’m on Iraq.  Enjoy your late fall and the seasonal changes.

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26 Responses to “IBOL, and Life”

  1. diane phillips Says:

    Just glad you are safe, and hopefully coming home for good!

  2. Ann J Says:

    Good to hear you got some R&R! Please post to let us know if you are on the “Coming Home” show.

    Safe home, always, and thank you so much!

  3. Magpie Sue Says:

    Thanks for the update. I think you’re totally due some R&R – would love to see you on the Lifetime show! You know where to find us if you want help with other projects. ;- )

  4. jane Says:

    Have been missing your voice. Glad you are safe and happy. You should be proud of the accomplishments of your fellow service members and the crew you acquired by chance. IBOL and SSP has been an opportunity not to miss. We all should appreciate the opportunity you afforded us and find a way to keep it going if not overseas but in our own backyards. God bless you and your family.

  5. Maryann McEvoy Says:

    Thanks for all you’ve done. Enjoy the R&R, you deserve it.
    God Bless You!

  6. Chris Says:

    I can understand why you need to stop and catch your breath. My son-in-law is in Afganistan til June. He did 3 tours in Iraq and this is his first in Af. I’ll be watching coming home, hope to see you. Please stay in touch, I enjoy your blogs and learning about what you go through bad or good and if there is anything I can help you with contact me at chris.fuqua@centurytel.net. All the best.
    Chris

  7. Jan Myhre Says:

    Congratulations on your homecoming. I was a pleasure and a privilege to contribute to your philanthropy. I’m proud to know you and enjoy telling friends and family of your generosity and resolve. Revel in your family and take this down time to rest on your laurels and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

    Jan Myhre, Spokane, WA

  8. Jan Myhre Says:

    Congratulations on your homecoming. It was a pleasure and a privilege to contribute to your philanthropy. I’m proud to know you and enjoy telling friends and family of your generosity and resolve. Revel in your family and take this down time to rest on your laurels and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

    Jan Myhre, Spokane, WA

  9. Dawn Says:

    it’s good to hear from you! i’m glad you got to be with your family and relax a little. thanks for the chance to participate in the IBOL and ABOL projects, it was a honor. if you come up with any more projects we can help you with, please let us know.

  10. kathyh Says:

    Thank you for all your efforts with Ibol.
    It was a great way to get in the back door in order to help bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Amazing effort on your part and on the parts of many others who helped.
    Congratulations and Hip Hip Hooray!

  11. Mary Kirwin Says:

    Thanks IBOL Guy for all you’ve done. It was good to be a small part of such a cool project. Enjoy the time with your family. May the road rise up to meet you . . . .

  12. stephanie Says:

    Thanks so much! We are honored to have been part of an effort to build peaceful connections in parts of the world that so need it. Thanks for your leadership, you compassion, and for letting us get to know you! You and your family are always welcome if you’re ever up in the Pacific Northwest.

    Stay safe, come home soon!

  13. Jenny Says:

    While I’m sorry to see this effort end, it’s been great fun to help. Thanks for coming up with the idea in the first place and giving us a more direct way to assist in both Iraq and Afghanistan!

    As many of the other comments, give a holler if you need a hand for a similar effort in the future.

    Enjoy the family and have a mojito or two for me!

  14. Bobbie Says:

    So glad you were able to go home and see family. Look forward to seeing you on Lifetime show. You have definitely been missed by your many friends. Thank you for allowing us to share your thoughts and our boxes of goodies.

  15. Jo-Anne Says:

    I am so happy you’ve been able to get home to spend much deserved time with your family. As those before have written, thank you for the opportunities to help with IBOL in some small way. And as they’ve also said, if you need us on another project, let us know! Blessings, from the Canadian contingent. Jo-Anne

  16. bluesews Says:

    God Speed!

  17. Kay McClain Says:

    I have the feeling that in the future that you will find other ways to help people who are less fortunate than others and you have a small army of people that will be willing to help out. Mahalo and with aloha — Kay

  18. Deb Says:

    It has been a privilege to assist you. Thank you for your service and hope you are home for good soon. Aloha.

  19. Ellen Says:

    Art-

    Ditto to all the above. It has always been a blessing and a privilege to work with you to assist the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A huge thanks and appreciation to you, your family and all our servicemen and servicewomen and their families.

    Feel free to call on us again

  20. Nancy Anne Says:

    I’ve been missing hearing from you and wondering if all was okay. I’m sure you’ve been very busy. Make it home safe and sound, IBOL guy, and let us know when we need to be watching Coming Home. All the best to you. If you ever come up with another super idea to help those who need a hand, please don’t forget your helpers out here in blog-land!

  21. maggieb! Says:

    IBOL Guy and Sewing Sisters,
    Every time a woman stitches our fabric, every time a child wears that item, they will think of the women from America who hold their Country and their lives in our hearts.We have planted seeds with our bundles and pray the fruits will serve the women and children in their future.
    Well done, everyone! maggieb!

  22. The Slapdash Sewist Says:

    THank you so much for the wonderful, tireless work you’ve put into IBOL and ABOL, in addition to your very demanding job. So glad to hear you had some time to enjoy family.

  23. Esther Wiebke Says:

    Commented in an “older” area too. Is there still a way to send beanie babies? Just found out that a friend has tubs of these that she would definitely send at least part of.

  24. Deb Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  25. stephanie Says:

    Hey. I don’t know if you’ll get this message, but I wanted to say hello. I’m making your chocolate sauce tonight. :D
    Our son is in Afghanistan right now. Sure wish he was home!!
    All the best, Stephanie Allgood, IBOL supporter. :D

    • Jane Pfaffenberger Says:

      Stephanie, What a surprise when IBOL was in my inbox. Just the name brought back wonderful memories of sending boxes and seeing the photos and remembering the service we helped provide. My Girl Scouts have been adopting deployed military personnel since 2008. We have one soldier coming home and a Marine who is being redeployed who we are readopting. I will add you son to my prayers. I wish him a safe tour and returning safely home to family and friends. Military moms are the strongest women I know. I hope you find comfort in the knowledge that there are people who support the work your son is doing for all of us.
      Jane

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