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While a donation of $1,000 may not address any significant part of the loss from California’s ravaging wildfires, already estimated at more than $1 billion, the source of that gift has some people expressing awe.

A troop of Iraqi soldiers assembled the funds and forwarded them to California for inclusion in the relief efforts being offered the thousands of people displaced by the still-burning California fires.

“That is the kewlest cool thing I have read all month,” wrote “no one you know” on the Minx forum.

The report comes from the U.S. military. Army Sgt. 1st Class Charlene Sipperly, of Bayfield, Colo., who works in the military’s public affairs division, released a news statement about the concern the Iraqi soldiers expressed for the California victims.

“Members of the Iraqi Army in Besmaya collected a donation for the San Diego, Calif., fire victims …at the Besmaya Range Complex in a moving ceremony,” she wrote.

“Iraqi Army Col. Abbass, the commander of the complex, presented a gift of $1,000 to U.S. Army Col. Darel Maxfield, Besmaya Range Complex officer in charge, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, to send to the fire victims in California,” she wrote.



Iraqi soldiers in Besmaya who donated to California fire victims

“The money was collected from Iraqi officers and enlisted soldiers in Besmaya. In a speech given during the presentation, Col. Abbass stated that he and the Iraqi soldiers were connected with the American people in many ways, and they will not forget the help that the American government has given the Iraqi people. Abbass was honored to participate by sending a simple fund of $1,000 to the American people in San Diego, to lower the suffering felt by the tragedy,” the Army report said.

Said Richard S. Lowry, author of “Marines in the Garden of Eden,” “Here is an example of Iraqi charity and gratitude which touched my soul. Imagine how incredibly generous these soldiers are. They have little to support their own families. It’s not enough that they are fighting daily to bring peace to their country. They are actually reaching out to help unfortunate Americas.”

Pat Sipperly, Charlotte’s husband and a moviemaker in Bayfield, told WND that his wife went to Iraq earlier this year, after she re-join the reserves several years ago.

He said it’s among the many “amazing” stories she’s heard or seen in Iraq.

Added “MikeB” on the forums website, “One of the (Iraqi) Cols I work with was reminiscing about his favorite car that Saddam had given him for missions flown in Iran. He went on and on about how he loved this car. I think it was a Regal. He told story after story of the memories of that car. He then showed me a picture of it. All that was in the pic was a burned out hulk. The second photo shows the VIN number carefully framed, the soot rubbed off. I asked what happened to it … He looks at me and says … ‘You guys bombed it.’ Uncomfortable silence. He then says … ‘Thank you for coming here’.”

Made me cry,” “Rightwingsparkle” said about the donation. And “eman” added, “We and the Iraqis are Blood Brothers now.”

“Great story. It reminds me of the biblical one recalling the poor widow giving her two coins in the midst of the wealth,” said. “AnonymousDrivel.” The U.S. ( and to some degree, the coalition) continues to give much, but the Iraqis are giving much, too. Perhaps it’s more symbolic than has been reported, but symbolism counts much more than any contribution this particular outfit can muster. Consider it another lane marker down the highway to freedom.



Related special offer:

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Previous stories:

Inside Saddam’s ‘Lion’ mega-base

Hunting al-Qaida in Iraq

A tale of 2 ‘massacres’

Life with the Marines in Ramadi

Marines guard Iraq’s gradual transformation

Real heroism, real martyrdom

Life in Saddam’s palace

Marines trade bullets for compassion

Secret cause of sectarian violence in Iraq

‘General’ public should provide real support

U.S. soldiers befriend Iraqi children

War secret: Iraqis actually like the U.S. military


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