There won’t be a Son of IBOL

Folks, I failed.

I am sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight out of Iraq. In the weeks since Ramadan closed, I’ve unable to find someone to take on IBOL after I leave. I was really hoping there’d be an IBOL II, or a Son of IBOL as I liked to call it. But, as I prep to fly, it looks like there won’t be one, and IBOL is indeed coming to a close

I’m been mulling over why this is. IBOL seems like such a no brainer — surely others would want to do something like this, right?

And then I remember the amount of stuff involved in this. Bulk mail, sometimes topping 600 or 800 boxes a day. A warehouse. Coordinating with other units, in other parts of Iraq, for sending them stuff. Stealing, er, I mean, acquiring dunnage, pallets, nets, trucks, forklifts, anything and everything.

Maybe if it had been 500 bundles, it’d be an easier sell. 3445 is a lot to chew on.

So, here’s where we stand.

1. I’ll update this site from time to time, as things develop. One easy way to keep tabs on when there are new posts is to use this RSS feed, or bookmark this. If you use GMail or Yahoo Mail or something like these, you may be able to add this link and it’ll notify you when something new gets added. As this site slows down to a crawl, it might be easier to have the site notify you when there’s something new posted, versus checking in from time to time.

2. I’m starting in on the big write-up. It’ll be either free or as close to free as possible. I’ll likely distribute it digitally, in a few formats, since one of the keys to the success of this whole IBOL thing seems to have been the embracing and leveraging of all things webby and geeky. Got Kindle? There may be a Kindle friendly version, if I can figure it out. And since Wil Wheaton is a hero of mine, there may be an audio version as well. Who knows. But all of that would come out through this site, I think.

3. Somehow, I think there will be other things that will come up this year, if you too are bitten by the bug. Like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JRDF) walk — for which my wife has signed up (and the kids and I will tag along). I doubt these things will make it to this website; there’s probably some way to discuss / share these things.

4. And there’s always the IBOL Guy World Tour, currently set with three stops — Oregon before Thanksgiving, Lake Arrowhead after Thanksgiving, and on Oahu in the spring. I’ll likely share the details here.

I wish there was a follow-on version of IBOL. It would have been cool.


37 Responses to “There won’t be a Son of IBOL”

  1. Lynne Says:

    There might not be a Son of IBOL, but you have taught us all how one small idea can grow into something amazing. IBOL will live long in the hearts of those who participated, and I believe it will inspire other acts of generosity. You never know!

  2. IBOL 78754 Says:

    I’d still tell the mailroom to reserve that mailing address. Someone might want it eventually.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Oh, I did that already. Shoot, that was done a couple of weeks ago. And I paid the electricity bill for the warehouse, too — figuratively (I told them to not close it down for a while).

  3. kern Says:

    IBOL Guy, you never know. Someone may get interested after they get settled in over there.

    Thank you for doing it though!

  4. sygnett Says:

    Hope you make it home to Hawaii SUPER FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Ive only got 198 days!!) 🙂

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Syg, it’s Thursday night. We came to the ADAG Tuesday night. I’ve had enough time for a 5.75 and an 8.33 mile run. First flight was out and out canceled, and I find out here in a little bit when attempt #2 will be. Super fast — that’s a relative term, when the USAF / military is involved!

  5. Jennifer Says:

    maybe you can organize a QOV group. i’m addicted to those – my 4th is currently being quilted and i’m piecing together my 5th this year.

    thanks so much for organizing IBOL. it has been a fantastic effort for so many and gave us the opportunity to help out others that we would not have been able to do without you.

    enjoy being home!

  6. Michele Says:

    Honestly, I’m just glad you’re getting to go home. Safely. That’s enough.

  7. quiltdivajulie Says:

    You came … you saw … you did … that says SO much about YOU and your ability to empower and motivate others.

    Thank you for IBOL. There’s a whole world of possibilities out there … who knows what is waiting for you once you navigate your way home. Looking forward to the big write and whatever other adventures you choose to share with us.

    IBOL has been a REALLY GOOD thing … ripples in the pond – never know where they might travel or who they might touch.

  8. Stacy Says:

    Just the fact that you did this project was enough. It would have been icing on the cake to continue it. Let us all know if something else comes down the pipeline and we will step up to help. Glad you are coming home safe! God bless you for your service to others. 🙂

  9. gail norback Says:

    You have shone your light to the world. Now it is time for another to step up and we never know where that will be. Best wishes to you and your lovely family. Gail

  10. SuzAnn Says:

    IBOL GUY, You did not fail; the world has been changed because of you. It’s up to the rest of us now to follow your example. Enjoy your world tour and being with your family. They are so lucky to have you.

    I tell my mom and sisters, who helped with the IBOLS, that I want an IBOL GUY of my own. You know, someone who protects people, wears handmade shirts, is physically fit, demonstrates unconditional love, and has a FATASTIC sense of humor. You sure we can’t clone you??

  11. kmkat Says:

    Any time you think you failed, think of one of the recipients of an IB♥L package and what she may have done with it. And how it made her feel. And how it made the recipient(s) of her creativity feel. And how it made the givers (that would be me) feel. IB♥L was a bit of magic that you made, and magic does not always do what the creator may decree. You did something and it was good.

  12. Marge Says:

    There just isn’t a word to describe what you did for humanity, and no one to fill your shoes. God bless you for caring so much about others, and for giving so much of yourself. And thank you for serving this great country of ours, and for showing at least some of the Iraqi people that we in the USA do care about them as people, not just as a fuel source. Thank you for all the faith you have given to me and so many other quilters in allowing us to help you with your project. May this be your final tour away from your loved ones!

  13. NancyAnne Says:

    I’ve got you bookmarked in Google Reader, Art, so I can look forward to hearing of the continuing adventures of IBOL guy. As kmkat said, you are not a failure! You have made us all much more aware of the world around us and what one person can do to help others. For that I offer sincere thanks. Have a safe journey and a wonderful life – you earned it!

  14. Kit Says:

    There’s a lot of words to describe IBOL, but “fail” sure ain’t one of them!! There’s no way we can know how this will continue to make the world a better place. . . and trust me, it will. Thank you.

  15. Margieinmaryland Says:

    Adding to the chorus of “thank you for doing this”.
    Life is funny: Sometimes one winds up doing something that is completely unexpected (like getting 3000+ boxes of sewing and knitting supplies to women in Iraq). But that doesn’t mean that someone else will do the same thing. Please be pleased with the success of IBOL.

    And (almost), welcome home! Enjoy your family. I know they must be counting the days.

  16. Sherrill Says:

    What a great first sentence! Safe travels.

  17. Kathi D Says:

    It was one amazing feat. Amazing, heartwarming, hope-inspiring. Thank you!

  18. Kathi D Says:

    P.S. Failed? Pshaw!

    Lives were changed. On both ends of the bundles.

  19. Alice Hayden Says:

    The ony failure, is your self realization of what a great thing you did for those of us you allowed to participate, perhaps for some women who are often forgotten in a ravagged country; and I’m thinking it may be the seeds of peoples understanding something about one and other. I loved IBOL, I love hot fudge, I love fabric and women helping women. You are the great enabler, you made it all happen. What the world needs now is more men like the IBOL-Guy!

    Go home, be at peace and enjoy.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      You know, a part of me is wondering if Mrs. IBOL Guy and the IBOLets have made SuperSauce in advance of my return. And if these flights keep gettign delayed, if they’ll have the discipline to not eat it all while waiting! A cold beer and an IBOL Sundae — wouldn’t that be a nice first event when we get home from the reception ceremony?

  20. Jan Says:

    No failure here! IBOL Guy, you stirred us all to action, gave us hope, gave Iraqi women and families hope, inspired other troops. I hope you feel the love we send to you, as you are most certainly deserving.

    Enjoy your time home with your family; you’ve earned it!

    I’m off to bookmark your personal site so I can keep up with other schemes you may devise!

  21. Susan Says:

    Perhaps you couldn’t find someone to take on Son of IBOL because there aren’t many people with your vision, determination, tenacity, and grit. Thank you for all you have done.

    By now, I hope you are winging your way home. Safe journey.

  22. Kate Says:

    Art, you have done great things with this project. You have captured the imagination and fabric stashes of thousands of women on this end, and provided bundles for thousands of women/families in need on that end. You have been a blessing to so many of us on so many levels…thank you for your dedication to IBOL and for seeing it through to completion. As for Son of IBOL…well…it would be great to see it continue, and maybe someday, someone with your drive, determination, compassion and humor will pick it up. Until then, rest well knowing that IBOL was a screaming success…and that you have thousands of us just waiting for the next call. : )

    As for Lake Arrowhead after Thanksgiving–I live just down the hill in Redlands–and if you were serious about coffee, it’s on me. Seriously, my mom and I (her fabric, my packing/mailing) would buzz up the hill in a hurry to meet the IBOL Guy in person! : )

    Have a safe and speedy trip home.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Yeah, Arrowhead. After Eugene, I’m intending to go there for a visit — decompress, read a book or two, and hang out. Wife and kids need to get home for school, etc, but I could use the quiet that it offers. So, yeah — Arrowhead is a part of the plan. Just need to lay on plane tickets, etc.

  23. stephanie Says:

    Do you know the Starfish story? A boy sees a bunch of stranded star fish on the beach, and begins to through them back in the ocean. A man walks by, and seeing the hundreds of starfish, tells the boy he can’t possibly throw them all back in, he can’t make a difference to all of them. The boy then picks up a starfish, and while throwing it back in the ocean says, “I made a difference to that one.”

    Years ago when Kate was pretty dicouraged in Romania, she emailed me about her feelings. The problems there were so big! But the starfish story became her theme. I hope you FEEL the difference you made for so many of us!! Thanks, and come visit in Seattle sometime!

  24. Kay in Boston Says:

    Too often we think of things not accomplished and thus lose sight or truly value what we have accomplished. SO please take some joy and comfort in what you did do (and letting others join in). Also too often we never know the effect we have on others. So while the recipients may never be able to voice their appreciation for your efforts, someday you may see a picture of a shirt or skirt on an Iraqi and know that it was connected to this wonderful project. Hope the trades are gently blowing and the light of the islands fill you with warmth and love. Aloha nui loa –

  25. Gwen Says:

    You most certainly did not “fail”. Forget about the fact that your goal for IBOL was 50 bundles and you received around 3500.

    IBOL has not really ended.

    Okay, maybe there won’t be the IBOL younger twin project…

    But, there WILL be the IBOL second cousin project and the IBOL brother-in-law project and the IBOL niece’s girlfriend’s son’s project, and more. They probably won’t take the shape of sewing supplies, and they shouldn’t necessarily count on getting international attention and the input of thousands of people that IBOL received, but there will be follow-on projects. You can bet on it!

    Just as you inspired thousands of people to do something relatively little, you also inspired dozens of people to do something big. Right now, we don’t know who, or what, or when. And they might not even know themselves yet! But they are out there and you planted the “look what can be done” seed and watered it with the “anybody can do it” water and shone the “one person can make a difference in this world” sunlight on it. There is fertile ground out there – some of your seeds will take root and grow.

    IBOL will live on. I guarantee it!

    (Unless, of course, the IBOL family world tour passes through central Florida and I am not notified, in which case horrible things may happen…) 😉

  26. obscure Says:

    As Gwen notes, there WILL be a son of IBOL, daughter, brother, sister, kitteh of IBOL. They may not appear quite the same, but we’ll know them when we see them.

    Peace to all.

  27. Melanie Says:

    Some things simply are once-in-a-lifetime events — and, perhaps, best left that way. As others have said, someone new will come along with another, equally idiosyncratic whiz-bang idea that swiftly takes root and grows. Meanwhile — this was bliss. Let it be, with thanks, and let it inspire some new adventure built on the strength of this.

  28. Anika Says:

    “Folks, I failed. ” IBOL Guy succeeded, exceeded any and all expectations, was entirely original, and you got the job done. The IBOLs are finding the women they were meant for.

    And I am so glad you are comin’ home!!

  29. Java Jane Says:

    Failure? You are sorely mistaken Mr. IBOL Guy. Those tears I shed while reading your posts and the associated comments were not dripping in vain on my keyboard. They were tears of hope. Seeds. Seeds can lie dormant for months, years, even decades, but amazing things have grown and will grow.

    Safe travels. May Peace come.


  30. Nadine Says:

    There’s not much more I can say that hasn’t already been said, and said very well, by the other folks commenting here. But I CAN reiterate that you did NOT fail! You did more in relation to this one event, this one cause, than many people do over the course of their entire lives. If you really think you’ve failed, I think the sand has scrambled your brains and it’s a good thing you’re getting out of there now!

    Safe travels, Art. I’m glad you’re headed home, and I hope it’s the last time you’ll have to visit the desert, or anywhere else that takes you away from loved ones.

  31. Debbie Says:

    Art, You’ve done a great thing with IBOL. Safe journey to your family. By the way, I think Kay in Boston had the right idea, I also nominated you for person of the week.

  32. Diane Says:

    IBOL and YOU are NOT a failure–think of the lives changed, both in Iraq and in our own country—if the son of IBOL pops up or not, you have given people hope for a future where we can all share what we have with others to make a better tomorrow for our children and the children around the world. It only takes one person to leave bread crumbs on the ground for others to either pick up or not—you scattered them and people picked them up and participated in something bigger than all of us—God bless you and your family—traveling mercies and prayers for rest, and refreshment when you return home.

  33. Christine Says:

    Happy belated Veteran’s Day to you!
    Your post made me smile:)
    There will be a son of a planted the seed and it just takes awhile for anything worthwhile and lasting to grow( I’ll have to start nagging my brother in law~he’s a Major in the Army and serving in Afghanistan) 😛
    I hope you are enjoying your time back in the states with family~
    Christine in Bend, OR

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