Earlier this year, we received a polite and humble request from a military member asking if we might have a used massage chair we would consider donating to Minnesota Air National Guardsmen who were deploying to Afghanistan. It didn’t take us long to decide that, yeah, we did want to help but we didn’t think a single chair would cut it. So, after jumping through some bureaucratic hoops–Who knew you can’t just give a military unit massage chairs?–we ended up sending 47 massage chairs, 30 foot and calf massagers and 40 pieces of exercise equipment to the USO at Bagram Airfield, the largest coalition base in Afghanistan.
We called the project Operation Massage Chair and it seems to have been a success. We thought we’d share a few comments we’ve received from the troops who were kind enough to send us notes about how the chairs have helped them.
Lieutenant Colonel Bob Kotula, a C-130 navigator, wrote:
Thank you so much for your generous gift of message chairs. They are a huge hit with the troops! After a hard day of flying nothing beats a 15 min back massage in a Human Touch chair. Thanks again.
Tech. Sgt. Jill Shepard is a C-130 loadmaster and the airman (and HT-125 fan) who first reached out to us. She says:
Can you even imagine! What a morale boost for the troops like me who are experiencing their 5th, 6th and more deployment to have a company reach out in such a tangible way. It is heart-warming to say the least!
Chaplain (LTC) Gary Williams of the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade:
Thank you all for your VERY GRACIOUS donation to our Soldiers here at Bagram Air Field. Your donated Human Touch Chair makes everything seem like HEAVEN. We already have some who gravitate over here on a daily basis. This is good because the more they come in the more opportunities for us to care for their emotional, spiritual, and physical well being.
Nick, who says he’s a Minnesota Air National Guardsman, wrote:
I am currently deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. I am writing to express my gratitude for your recent donation of massage chairs. You have given an amazing gift to my fellow airmen and I. I can’t explain how great it feels to come home from a long days mission and relax in these amazing chairs. It’s a great a moral boost and gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day. Thank you very much for all you have done, we truly appreciate it!
Nick, you don’t have to thank us. It’s we who owe a debt of gratitude to you and all of your fellow airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines.
It doesn’t take a truckload of massage gear to help out the troops, though. If you’d like to help, consider donating to the USO, answering a service member’s request for useful stuff at AnySoldier.com or by donating a “care package for the mind” through Books for Soldiers.