Green Room

Marine returns from Afghanistan – two days later, his house burns down; UPDATE

posted at 3:44 pm on February 17, 2011 by

I have call to action for you all today. This weekend, a Marine with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines returned home to Camp Lejeune from Afghanistan. Two days later, on Valentine’s Day, his house burned down. He was able to get himself, his wife, and his 20-month-old daughter out of the home safely. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the house burned to the ground, and the family lost everything.

I just can’t imagine what they must be going through right now. My husband is due back from Afghanistan relatively soon. To lose our home and everything we owned immediately afterwards would be devastating. I don’t know where this family is staying, but they are in desperate need of any and all household items. Furniture, appliances, clothes, everything they owned is gone. If any of you can find the generosity to donate any household goods or money to this family, it would be so appreciated. I just would hate to think that a Marine could come home from fighting for his country in Afghanistan to a disaster like this, only to have his country fail to support him when he needed it most. Please help get the word out. It would mean a lot to not only the family, but to me and the Camp Lejeune community in general.

You can mail checks and/or goods to the following address. If you have any questions, or if you are local and would like to know where to drop off goods, feel free to e-mail me at cassy@cassyfiano.com.

1st Sgt Daniel Mangrum
H&S Company
1st Battalion 2nd Marines
2nd Marine Division
PSC Box 20094
Camp Lejeune, NC 28542

Thank you in advance for all of your generosity and support.

UPDATE: Well, that was fast! Last night, I found out that apparently they are buried in donations right now, which is fantastic news. They have been overwhelmed with cash, clothes, furniture, appliances, supplies, everything – so they don’t need
anything more at this point.

Thank you so much for your help and generosity!

Follow Cassy on Twitter and read more of her work at CassyFiano.com and Hard Corps Wife.

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Yowch. Can somebody at 1/2 set up a PayPal account? I’d gladly send a donation & beat the social networking bushes for more.

OhioCoastie on February 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM

When I spoke to them about an hour ago, they said if anyone wanted to send monetary donations to just send checks. I’m a volunteer at our local USO and I’ve spoken to them about helping the family, too, and maybe they’ll set up a PayPal account for them. I wondered the same thing, though.

Cassy Fiano on February 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Cassy have you contact the PGR for that area? They maybe able to send out an email for those who volunteer and do a cash donation drive (poker run) or even talk to PGR National for a donation for this Young man and his family.

Also, has anyone also contact the Marine Booster clubs? My Hubby was stationed there years ago and is a member of the club, maybe they can get a email out for a fellow Marine?

Other than the VFW and American legion it is just a thought.

upinak on February 17, 2011 at 4:33 PM

I don’t know of any booster clubs in the area — could you e-mail me some contact info? I already have the USO involved. We have a VFW here, but they don’t seem to have a very strong presence with anything I didn’t think about contacting the American Legion though, I will definitely call them.

Cassy Fiano on February 17, 2011 at 4:38 PM

cassy, sent. Please keep me updated.

upinak on February 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

2d Marine Div is blessed to be led by Gen Hejlik, who is not only a great Marine, but cares deeply about families and Marine welfare. 2d Marine Div has a permanent, paid FRO (Family Readiness Officer).

The command is most likely coordinating with both the NMCRS (Navy Marine Corps Relief Society), which has a fully funded, full-service branch on board Camp Lejeune (910) 451-5346, and the American Red Cross (military), which also has a fully-funded, full service branch on board Camp Lejeune (910) 451-2173. There is also a local detachment of the Marine Corps League (Onslow County), (910) 330-6853.

It probably would have been most advisable to contact the FRO and find out what arrangements are already in place for this family before attempting to duplicate resources. I would find it hard to believe that the Bn Sgt Maj Collins does not have things well in hand. The listed telephone number for the Bn FRO is (910) 451-3288.

YTZGal on February 17, 2011 at 5:12 PM

The USO is working with the FRO. Being a Marine wife and a family readiness volunteer, I am familiar with what FROs are. ;) Each unit has their own FRO. For whatever reason, 1st Sgt Mangrum is the one heading up the collection efforts. When I asked about how they wanted to get goods and/or donations, I was told they could either drop it off personally on base (I have directions for anyone who needs them that is local) or to mail it to the address above.

I have two phone numbers for the unit if anyone would like to call and speak to someone from 1/2 personally to verify all of this; just send me an e-mail and I’ll forward it on.

Cassy Fiano on February 17, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Nothing wrong with sending checks, but I’d strongly, strongly recommend the PayPal route. And a decent website to drive traffic to.

My home was destroyed while I was in Iraq. And I’m not sure how to put this with political correctness so I’ll just say it: I was not at all impressed with the military response. The unit, family readiness groups, the chain of command … none of it.

The PRIVATE response, however, was overwhelming. Had we counted on my unit, well, it would have been bad.

A friend of mine who also lost his home set up a website and a PayPal account. It netted him almost $20 thousand.

People are lazy. But they’ll click a few links to help someone in need. And the power of social networking, coupled with a way to pay over the computer, will – in my opinion – be roughly a thousand times more effective than letting the unit coordinate it and have people send physical checks.

Again, no offense intended. I’m a current soldier and former Marine. But I saw what worked and what didn’t in my case. Make of it what you will.

Professor Blather on February 17, 2011 at 7:02 PM

I’ll be at the office tomorrow, and if I can speak to the Marine I will ask him. But I don’t want to set anything like that up without the family’s permission. I definitely understand your point though.

Cassy Fiano on February 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Soldier’s Angels is reporting on Facebook that the Marine and his family have been inundated with everything they need and that there’s no more need for donations.

That was fast- and it happened before I was able to donate so I’ll be sending the money to Soldier’s Angels instead. I’d suggest that anyone in the same boat pick a charity that supports the military and does the same.

Jay Mac on February 19, 2011 at 7:06 AM