For those of us who don’t do the “Facebook thang”, Fuzzy Bear Lioness had this to say over at Facebook:
Gift for Lex’s Family:
The wreath and gift cards were extremely well-received, of course (that’s an understatement!), and Mary asked me to be sure and tell you that she wants to adopt us all. She expressed her deep love and gratitude for everyone over and over, and said that she wished she could thank every single person involved. She said more than once, “You ARE my family; I will adopt every one of you! Please tell them!” She emphasized that it meant so much to have our love and support.
The wreath itself (see pic) brought Mary to tears, and we were all right-on to think it would be appreciated amid a more subdued Christmas than she would usually arrange. I explained it by saying that we had been thinking about how difficult this first Christmas would be, and wished to give them something to smile about and bring more Christmas cheer into this difficult time.
Mary thought the wreath was it. When she saw the card, she was enchanted and very appreciative before she even opened the gift cards–I introduced it by explaining that we had intended to gather “a bit of money” to fund the kind of 5-star dinner that the family could remember blissfully for the rest of their lives so that they would have a happy memory this Christmas, but that there was so much love that it “got a bit out of hand,” and that we hoped she would use the extra money for something she felt would honor Lex or that he would approve of.
She was very emotional after she read the card, and I honestly worried about whether she would be able to stand up once she saw how much money there really was… I shouldn’t have worried, because by the time she got to the second $500 gift card, the tender-but-tough navy wife took over–she swore in astonishment, and there were not enough smiles, tears, words or hugs to express the depth of her feelings. It was very obvious that the message that there were hundreds of people thinking of the family, especially now as well as in the future (as the card’s poem said), was heard loud and clear. She immediately said the card would be framed, and that knowing so many people cared so much was a huge lift. As soon as she recovered from the shock, she said she’d take her kids to the Harbor Island
Sheraton restaurant (which I can vouch for as one of the finest dining experiences in San Diego), then give the rest to a nonprofit that supports families of the fallen.
Mary and the family continue to do as well as can reasonably be hoped. I think I can safely say that the sentiments and gifts transmitted from all of you to them made this difficult time a little bit easier and will provide them warm and loving memory for the rest of their lives.
POSTSCRIPT: I delivered everything at 2:00 Pacific, so I did not see the comments about listing names. However, I was very careful on both the card and in person to make it clear that it was from far more people than just those who made a financial gift, that everyone had been thinking of the LeFon family and how difficult Christmas must be for them this year, that the sentiment extended far beyond a list of names. To illustrate this, the card was signed in two ways. The main signature on the RH side said, “With love & respect, Your Internet Family.” Beginning on the lower LH side (internal), I added the phrase, “All send their warmest thoughts and wishes, but these were able to send something more.”
My intent was to show that we were ALL thinking of the family, but I wanted to list the names for two reasons: 1) I wanted her to see the scope of people who had contributed–that it wasn’t just a handful. 2) I believe that seeing familiar names (since I knew some were known to her) would also increase the impact–make it more “real,” make it personal. Having seen her reaction, I think doing it this way was very effective in sending the message we all intended. I am so sorry anyone could have felt excluded, for that certainly wasn’t my intention and I assure you the exact opposite message was delivered to Mary–that this was from everyone who was thinking about the LeFon family this holiday season–and she was obviously overwhelmed by the sentiment. If anyone wants to reach her directly to express your personal wishes, please don’t hesitate to PM me and I will facilitate it for you (by email, mail, etc).
THE STATS: The grand total raised was $1710. This funded a gorgeous Christmas wreath ($91), the card ($5), and $1600 in gift cards (plus $24 in fees to purchase the 4 cards–each maxed out at $500). I was expecting a handful of checks that didn’t arrive by yesterday; If they do come in, I will PM whomever wrote it so that you can let me know what you’d like me to do–i.e. save it for a memorial brick/paver, give it to Mary, tear it up, etc).
The Old AF Sarge would like to add his 2 cents:
“Ya done good folks, ya done REAL good.”
And God Bless us, everyone…