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Old 12-24-2008, 11:58 AM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Default I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Scroll to near the bottom
-----------------------------------

A special Christmas message from one of our own in Afghanistan
Posted 3 hours ago


Letter to the editor and open letter to St Paul's friends:

Salaam Alaakem, Merry Christmas, and hello from Kandahar, Afghanistan. I thought I would drop you a line because I definitely know where I'd rather be for Christmas. Despite the vast number of Charlie Brown Christmas trees (including my own), and the almost endless soprano saxophone Christmas carols playing in the mess hall, I am not anticipating a white Christmas in these parts. Kandahar is cool and rainy this time of year, and truth be told, that is a nice break from the summer, when temperatures often reached 40 -45 C and even 50 C occasionally; quite warm, you know -- good for the pores!

This has been a long and intense journey for me. Very difficult at times, when my comrades and I have had to bid farewell to fellow Canadians who have given their lives over here. I know this war stirs a lot of very strong feelings in most people; but I can tell you I've never seen a place more impoverished than this, but where, bit by bit, we are making a difference in the lives of regular people. Whether it's little girls going to school, people getting vaccinations against things as seemingly improbable as polio, or clean water bubbling up in freshly dug wells, your women and men in the uniform of the Canadian Forces are steadily adding to the quality of life.

I have been here almost eight months now, mostly inside the Canadian headquarters on the base, but also sent on the occasional mission "outside the wire." This is a strange place: the rural areas -- largely farmland -- are austerely beautiful and look to have remained unchanged since biblical times. The more urban areas -- such as Kandahar City -- are testament to how human life and activity can carry on in even the most dire of circumstances, where rebuilding after 30 years of war and tyranny is only just beginning, and where acts of senseless -- but deliberate -- violence are an almost daily occurrence. If that weren't enough, people like me, who grew up within postcard-like Orillia, find it something of a culture shock to see open-air butcheries on the corner, where goats and chicken are hung for a customer's inspection, or hear the solemn evening call-to-prayer crackling over a public broadcast system. Or finally to watch half a dozen children fly a kite through a concrete-strewn vacant lot -- behind them there is an old brick wall scored with bullet holes.

The task of improving the situation here is often very difficult, as demonstrated by those who've paid the ultimate sacrifice. So believe me when I tell you, there is nothing more important to the women and men here than best wishes from home -- especially this time of year, when all of us are thinking about snow and family and friends and parties and possibly the occasional eggnog and rum.

Nevertheless, I have greatly treasured the privilege to represent my country. I have some really good buddies over here, and we keep each other laughing with the kind of humour and speculations fit more for a theatre of war than for a church sanctuary! I have had some great opportunities to work with Brits and Americans -- and of course, Afghans! And, finally, to dispel any really sharp pang of homesickness, I can always visit the Tim Hortons here on base, safely snugged away inside a fragmentation-proof trailer. Yes, it is slightly surreal to be drinking a large black Tim Hortons coffee while fighter jets scream by overhead.

In any case, fondest wishes to all of you for your Christmas and for your new year. Thank you all for your messages of concern and support -- and especially for your prayers. If I may, I have two requests to make of you. The first is that you take a little time to reflect on all the blessings, beauty, and (most of all) liberty that Canada so rightly cherishes, nowhere so exemplified as in Orillia. The second, say hello to Gordon Lightfoot for me; when I need a dose of the hometown, I've got Tim Hortons coffee and Gord on the iPod.

Merry Christmas, Inshallah. Your St. Paul's friend, Matt

Capt. Matt Lennox, Headquarters,

Joint Task Force Afghanistan
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Says it all! Wonderful!
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Nice find. Thank You. Lightfoot SHOULD see this.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:23 PM   #4
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I appreciate getting to read this heartfelt letter. My thoughts and prayers to Capt. Lennox and to all those whom are overseas.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Just a wild thought,
But wouldn't it be wild if we Corfidians could arrange to put together a post-Christmas gift package for Capt. Matt Lennox in Afghanistan. Just some Lightfoot memorabilia, some lesser known Lightfoot tunes that he may not have heard. Some Tim Horton's coupons (assuming they're redeemable in Afghanistan) or Tin of ground coffee, some personal grooming items which are always useful, nonperishable snacks (no fruitcake!!! it's considered a WMD), and perhaps a signed card from Gord himself?? Any ideas? A few donations, a few bucks from all and we could make this soldier's season, so far from home, just that more memorable. After all, it is the season of giving. Would have to find out exactly where he is stationed.
Any volunteers, hmmmm??????
Yeah, crazy I guess.....
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Not crazy at all. I think it's a brilliant suggestion and I am sure it could be done.
Char - you reading this?
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Thanks Bru,
I didn't have the guts to volunteer her....
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

I found the links for mailing to the troops:

http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/commun/.../index-eng.asp

and from Canada Post:

http://www.canadapost.ca/aboutus/new...d=1313&style=0

October 20, 2008
Canada Post will continue program of free delivery to deployed troops
Ottawa - Canada Post announced today it will continue providing free delivery of letters and parcels from family and friends to Canadian troops deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas.
Free parcel service for family and friends of deployed Canadian troops will be provided from October 20, 2008 to January 16, 2009. Last year Canada Post forwarded 11,000 parcels to our Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. Family and friends of deployed troops will also be able to continue sending lettermail free throughout 2009. At the end of this period, Canada Post and the Department of National Defence will jointly evaluate the program.

NOTE the FREE parcel service through January 16 2009.

I'm not sure how to track Capt. Lennox down but the overseas one mailing address for Kandahar that I found is:

(OP ATHENA - Kandahar, Afghanistan )


RANK/INITIALS/NAME
UNIT/SECTION
Provincial Reconstruction Team
OP ATHENA
PO BOX 5005 STN FORCES
BELLEVILLE ON K8N 5W6

Guidelines for mailing: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/commun/...ctives-eng.asp

Last edited by Auburn Annie; 12-24-2008 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:08 PM   #9
charlene
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

link to article - page still has a link to Gord's birthday stuff!

http://orilliapacket.com/ArticleDisp...=1361803&auth=

From his sign-off it looks like Matt is stationed at Kandahar Air Field/Joint Task Force Afghanistan Headquarters, which is also the headquarters of Task Force Kandahar.

A young school friend of my sons was just home for 2 weeks leave and is probably back there now. He's been travelling for a few days to get back - flight problems etc. have left him stranded in a few airports..
I could contact him and ask if he knows of Matt..he may be sent out as soon as he gets there and would be out of touch for a few weeks.

It seems Matt is a member of the church that Gordon has attended and he may very well know Matt and be aware of Matt's duty overseas. Perhaps the package could be sent to the church and they could forward it or give us a proper address..

IF we could get something sent to him I'm not sure that Gord's participation is necessary. It's possible that Lightfoot knows Matt. I get a sense that he does many things quietly and on his own, in his own way, obviously liking the anonymity. I would not want to impose our wishes for Matt on him, thus making him feel obligated..Perhaps I'm wrong..

Coupons are redeemable for Tim Horton products at the Kandahar Air Field store. (Tim Hortons is now an American company via Wendy's burger ownership)

let me see what I can find out..

A cuppa Tim's (double double) and Lightfoot..for those who don't know who Tim Horton was - he played hockey for Toronto Maple Leafs and started the coffee shop while he played for Buffalo. He died in a car accident before he saw the coffee shoppes be so successful. His partner sold out to Wendy's several years ago..

So it's fitting that it goes back to hockey/Leafs/Lightfoot.. the religion of many Canucks!Hockey watching with either a coffee or brewski in hand..be it in Orillia or Kandahar..it's Canadian..ya gotta love it.
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Makes you just want to give a big hug to such people doing the hard job that they're doing.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:46 PM   #11
Auburn Annie
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Hey, I got a reply from Matt! See below:

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew.Lennox@forces.gc.ca [mailto:Matthew.Lennox@forces.gc.ca]
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 2:32 PM
To:
Subject:

Mrs Tomlin:

Greetings from Kandahar Afghanistan! It is quite cold here, but nothing like North America.

I received your email address from our Postal Delivery Service, informing me that yourself and your discussion group were interested in sending me a package. I am most gracious and happy to receive packages; they've been a tremendous boost to morale here. However, it is with measured excitement that I tell you, my tour of duty here is set to conclude relatively soon, God willing! Postal delivery to myself and my mates often takes a month or more, and I am concerned that anything you send would arrive after I have departed. Believe me, in any other scenario, I would be very happy to be looking forward to a new care package! Nevertheless, your generosity is greatly appreciated. May I ask what discussion group you belong to?

Yours,

M (Matt) Lennox
Capt
DO G3 Current Operations
HQ JTF-Afg
Kandahar Airfield

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I gave him the corfid address - so maybe we'll be hearing from him soon!
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Glad to hear Matt is heading home soon.
Canada lost another soldier today..
be safe Matt..
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing Matt's reply Auburn Annie!!! And for reaching out and taking the time to contact him .
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Old 01-08-2009, 03:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Capt. Matt Lennox writes very well - and I don't mean anything as trivial as punctuation and sentence structure, etc. I've read the posts from him and I find his imagery in straightforward words to be very poignant. I can feel both his pride in service to Canada, and his vivid contrasts - such as the children playing on concrete in front of a bullet-riddled wall. If his demeanor in person is as it reads in letters, he is a very compassionate and self-disciplined man, with extremely good values.

I think most Americans such as I do not automatically think of Canadians in the War, and of course, as you folks know better, - they most certainly are; right in the maw of it. I'll answer his request for reflection on all he describes as an American ought to for his service as well. While he understandably speaks of hometown nostalgia; Gord; and Tim Horton's, I think the call for reflection by him on Liberty et al comes from a humble and self-sacrificing, admirable man. The forces' restoration and improvement of basic and essential life needs there for the local population is a very humanistic and admirable endeavour. I am humbled by the men and women who serve - we think we have it hard at times, I'm quite sure most of the time we don't even know the meaning of hard times, duty, and danger.

My personal thanks for his service and the good his unit is doing, in the midst of such a difficult maelstrom.

- geo Steve
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Quote:
Originally Posted by podunklander View Post
Thanks for sharing Matt's reply Auburn Annie!!! And for reaching out and taking the time to contact him .
No problem - I'm sort of on the periphery of the military at the moment as my daughter is engaged, as of Monday, to a young man who just completed basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station and is now at the nuke school in Goose Creek, South Carolina. I'm just learning ranks et al. He's an E-3 fireman.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlene View Post
Glad to hear Matt is heading home soon.
Canada lost another soldier today..
be safe Matt..
I was watching the news when that was reported. So sorry to have heard that. Like you, I wish Matt well & a safe return home.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

What is with the spam? You've been invaded!
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

I'm sure the moderator will address the issue ASAP. Rumor is that she also has a life to live. I don't know if that's really true or not.
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Rumor is that she also has a life to live. I don't know if that's really true or not.
it certainly doesn't seem true today- good grief the SPAM has been worse than I've ever seen.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

Quote:
Originally Posted by podunklander View Post
Thanks for sharing Matt's reply Auburn Annie!!! And for reaching out and taking the time to contact him .
I've been E-mailing him myself & I think that he's a very charming young man. I've been enjoying hearing from him & I hope he gets a big homecoming in his hometown. God be with him.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:51 PM   #21
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Default Re: I hope Gord sees this letter from Afghanistan (Orillia Packet & Times)

not sure if anyone still corresponds with Matt but he is home and writing, has a published book, http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/03...the-carpenter/

- Book review - http://www.harpercollins.ca/books/Th..._The+Carpenter

-- wrote a column or 2 - http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/03...-on-the-bible/

and had this in TorontoLife mag - http://www.torontolife.com/daily/inf...r-matt-lennox/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/...rticle1365521/

and

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matt-...129612?sk=info

I hope he makes it to a Massey show!
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