Jim Rathschmidt’s organization United for the Troops has sent over 15,000 care package to troops deployed overseas.

TRANSCRIPT – Transcript and Subtitles are generated automatically by YouTube and may contain errors.

okay here we go good evening vietnam
live from elsi bunker this is ronnie
ambrose your host on the veterans live
i served 101st airborne division in
vietnam from december 1967 to
december 1968. tonight’s guest
jim ratschmidt jim is in charge of
united for the troops a non-profit
that has sent over 15 000 care packages
to united states troops who are deployed
we will speak to jim in a few moments
but first i’d like to let you know the
program is brought to you by
fallen never forgotten vietnam memorials
in the usa
it’s a tribute to the men who never came
home from vietnam
okay let’s go to the timeline
okay this day in vietnam march 31st 1972
after firing more than 5 000 rockets
artillery and mortar shells on 12
south vietnamese position is just below
the dmz
the north vietnamese army launches
ground assaults against
south vietnamese positions in quang tree
after initial successes the united the
north vietnamese attack was stopped cold
by the combination of defending south
vietnamese divisions
along with u.s advisers and american
massive air power estimates placed in
north vietnamese losses on more than a
hundred thousand
at least one half of their tanks and
large caliber artillery
okay get ready for the number one song
march 31st 1972
by america a horse with no name
there you go all right let’s go to the
photo segment
okay first of all i’d like to thank all
the guys who sent these photos in
and you guys can send photos in any time
just go to vietnam veterans photo club
and say you they’re for the veterans
live show
and that’s all you got to do okay
from john moore i think of nom every day
the good my brothers i fought with
the camaraderie the bad the ambushes the
firefights and road minds we experienced
and the ugly seeing my brothers killed
in brutal
inhumane ways one can never imagine
god bless you my brothers fourth the
second the first cat
of fourth to the second first calvary
division and first of the first
with the fourth fourth calvary look at
that look
please put that picture back there you
go there’s a bunch of brothers on it
on that tank oh my gosh is there another
one behind them
good good spacing too gentlemen no
helmets though
okay next
rasheed walker great picture of the sea
wolf squadron three
h a l dash three detachment two in
knob b in 71. the sea wolf was disbanded
a year later in 1972.
look at these guys is it uh well that’s
well it looks like it’s it’s not on a
carry it’s on it’s on the base okay
there you go very good right thank you
next picture
glenn cooper there you go
with one of those m1 whatever it is
m1a1 jeeps happy belated vietnam
war day uh vietnam war veterans day
me i i’ve been saying that for like four
days now
highway one at the on k pass stopping at
a mountain yard village
on the way to play cool 69.70
very good with that flak jacket on too
got the m16
lock and load ready to go okay
thank you glenn robert hubbard
after the mission cleanup oh
yeah wow
that probably took that probably took a
what the heck okay some mission
next one theo esquiville merci beaucoup
for allowing me into the
vietnam veterans photo club no problem
glad you’re with us i served with b
company the 23rd s
t battalion gun trucks with 196
light infantry brigade in da nang it was
the year of hell on earth
an era of learning how to be a soldier
in a foreign land a good you
good for you man you took it seriously
and you came home god bless you
thank you for that picture okay here’s
our vietnam card of the week
captured there you go vietcong
okay the phoenix program was a secret
american campaign
u.s army advisers in cooperation with
south vietnamese police and
military were to seek out viet cong
infiltrators in south vietnamese
they would flush out the vietcong
gorillas and spies from the villages
some 60 000 viet cong agents were caught
under the phoenix program
wow that’s that’s pretty i guess that’s
pretty successful
okay any more pictures well that’s it
all right okay let’s bring our guest in
jim ratchet
from united for the troops welcome jim
thanks so much ronnie listen i want to
thank all our veterans out there and
especially this week
vietnam veterans we talk often and each
time that i know that i’m
in the presence of the vietnam vet the
first thing i want to remember is to say
welcome home
as you know that didn’t happen to so
many of you young men and women coming
so i want to say welcome home and thank
you for your service
thank you so much in fact this is very
interesting jim and i
were chatting online a lot with me
messages back and forth about stuff
found out that we lived pretty close to
each other in new york
and now we found out that we grew up on
the same block
and had similar friends when we were
kids like 60 years ago this is crazy you
were 30 years older than me ronnie
yeah 35.
okay so jim’s organization is named
united for the troops they’ve sent over
15 000 care packages to
the troops were deployed overseas now so
we’re not going to let jim tell you a
little bit
about his organization and how it came
to be
all right thank you ronnie um our son
uh was in the 82nd airborne and was
deployed over to iraq in 2007.
so we started sending him gift boxes
from home things that he we knew he
and he was sharing with everybody like
they all do over there
but he told us that there were so many
men and women over there that had nobody
or they had no families or their
families couldn’t afford to put anything
in the mail of course an awful lot of
so we started standing outside of
supermarkets and churches telling people
what we wanted to do
collected money and donations within
about a month
we had our entire downstairs living
our family room uh filled with donations
and now we had to get names and
addresses which were able to get through
and we were able to send over almost all
of them to our son luke
he came out of the uh combat after a
couple days he wanted to take a shower
and just take a nap and the sergeant
told him that he had a lot of work to do
around the back
and he said i’ve been gone for three
days to himself he says how did i get in
well when he went around the back there
was a truck with 200 boxes
that they handed out to everybody wow it
all started
um we didn’t know what to do next people
kept calling us and saying
this is a great story are you going to
keep doing it and so we just started
building little by little
we became a 501 3c we started getting
all sorts of help as you know
all your uh assets come out of
volunteers we’re an
all volunteer organization we don’t have
any salaries we don’t pay any rent
everything that comes into united but
the troops stays with
united for the troops and so actually
the number has gone up quite a bit since
we talked last time ronnie
um it’s we’re up to over 24 000 boxes in
the last 14 years
and that’s all done by our community
now it’s nationwide we’re a section here
we don’t have any places around the
country that have other
outlets being added to the troops but
because of social media
and amazon things come in all over the
country to us now
and so we just packed another 200 boxes
this year saturday
so we’re looking at 25 000 boxes over
the next couple of months
well unbelievable and that when you get
your uh
who comes in to help well we have a
email contingency of volunteers and each
one that’s on that volunteer list is
over 1200 of them
asked to be there so we’re not calling
up people asking for volunteers
we have young kids we have senior
citizens we have like the video
you’ll see with people that can’t come
out of the house want to help
now with covid um it kind of curtailed
us quite a bit
every november we would have 400 people
show up at copper beach middle school
and in one day from nine to two o’clock
in the afternoon
pack one thousand boxes in one day ready
to be shipped out
right over that put a that put a you
know a clamp on that
so we had to work out of our office we
have a three thousand square feet that’s
given to us by the county of putnam
in new york uh it’s a bottom floor of
one of their buildings that they’re not
and so it’s been a godsend for us well
that’s terrific yeah
that’s great you know hey this we don’t
have to pay any rent
no it’s every dime that comes in we
don’t buy any of the donations very
rarely we might buy some peanut butter
and jelly because we run out
but everything else comes through either
amazon it’s dropped off at our doorstep
and on our office
in our van anywhere we can pick it up at
the churches we have drop
spots all over the area in the tri-state
area around new york
so it was just it works so smoothly
uh sometimes we look at each other and
we go holy mackerel
it’s happening again how do you have a
certain days of the week on certain days
of the month you do this on or just
well when covet is we were doing it
packing about every week and every other
but we have a number of big items we
have operation defend the holidays which
is for
christmas time and the holidays we have
operation cupid for valentine’s day
we have one over the fourth of july and
then summer comes into september
and then we’re going right back into
operation defend the holiday so
it’s seven days a week for the most part
patty and i are both retired
um it’s something that we love to do you
know the drive that you get
dealing with people getting these
letters back seeing the faces
um that satisfaction alone if
if i had to get paid for this it would
totally change things around
it’s just something that we do and i’m
preaching to the quiet teacher of the
fire right now
because i see that in you every day this
is what we love
to do yeah yeah i got to take care of
those vets so not
active duty and the vets yeah we take
them care of it when they come back too
now they have all our information we
have cards and letters
in our boxes and all our information is
there a lot of times they’ll come back
and they’ll call us up
somewhere in minnesota and say i don’t
know what to do i need a phone number
they got a phone number sometimes we
hear back from them sometimes we don’t
that’s the chance we take but we’re able
we’re there 24 hours a day
if anybody needs any help when i mean
just not me and my wife
all everybody in our organization so
this is not just
overseas it’s in the states as well not
mostly it’s deployed military okay they
don’t have facilities over there
right things they miss most from the
home of course okay
she’s just saying bringing the little
comfort to our troops we don’t have any
political affiliations
we don’t uh campaign for anybody alls
you want to do is bring a little comfort
to our troops
that’s a good slogan yeah it was a nice
wasn’t it somebody gave it to us
yeah that’s okay and so um
on the average well that what was left
you have uh the years
just passed how many packages did you
send that latest 1200 packages
in the year 2020 wow coven that’s what
shut us down for five months right right
right you couldn’t ask anybody for
donations people were trying to feed
their own families
and what we had in the office we were
given to the food pantries
and then all of a sudden people said
listen we’re getting back on our feet we
want to know if you’re getting back on
your feet
and it started the donation started
coming in and
monetary donation started coming in so
from the time of september
to november and now until now we’ve done
over 1200 boxes in that time
that’s great that’s incredible now
uh with the covet how how do you
sanitize the boxes and stuff when they
going out no no more because
they’re they’re in our office for so
long uh we’ve gotten
um information from cobra
representatives that they’re not
they don’t need to be detoxed anymore
but yeah imagine that because
amazon ships out and then mail us
mail goes out yeah they got you when we
were collecting for this
food pantries when stuff was dropped off
right there in the middle of provide
when everybody was geared up
we had to sanitize everything that came
all the cans all that everything had to
be rubbed down with alcohol
put into a separate box put into a
container and then brought up to the
soup kitchen so it took about two days
uh but you know things are coming around
now so in our case
you know we don’t have to do that but we
are everybody in our office has
a mask on we take their temperature
before they come in
so it’s still geared up for kobe well it
seems like you adapt to situations and
carry on the mission you know what i’m
talking about ronnie
exactly what you do yeah it just you
uh what did they say um uh
necessity is the mother of invention is
that what you did all right
there you go okay so now we’re gonna
have a video show okay
and after that after the video we’ll
talk a little bit good
welcome to the united for the troops
operation defend the holidays
this is our 10th year when luke was over
in iraq
we were sending him gift boxes but he
told us that there were a lot of men and
women over there that didn’t have
anybody whether they had no families or
the family couldn’t afford to send a box
so we started standing outside of
supermarkets and churches
collecting donations and getting monies
the first year we sent about 200 boxes
10 years later we’re going to hit the 15
000 box mark we just come together as a
everybody donates everybody gives their
time we have young kids writing cards
we have seniors that can’t get out of
their house out of writing letters
collecting things from their neighbors
so it runs the whole gamut of
all our community we started out in a
vfw hall it was packed it was so small
we moved to an elementary school it was
packed we’re finally in
the largest gym in westchester everybody
wants to help it’s it’s great
there’s people that i see once a year
here it’s almost like
my uft family the great thing is seeing
people that don’t need the community
anymore they keep coming back and
it’s neat that you see their parents
sometimes their parents will drop them
off the first year and maybe the next
year they’ll stay for a little while
so you’ve got families here that have
been doing this for years
since 2000 i helped collect all the
candy we take it out of the big bags we
put it into tower bags
kids tend to gravitate to my table
because they like playing with the candy
which works out great i’m a high school
teacher so that’s easy for me to deal
with kids of all ages
it’s a lot of fun and people are here
for different reasons
and it’s just a wonderful way to spend
the holidays
i will always do what’s right i’m out
here on the front lines
sleeping peace
this box is the 200th box
for today
however over 10 years
it thousand is
i’ve gotten to meet soldiers who have
come back and i’ve gotten to see the
letters and the emails
and it’s not about that but it helps to
that it’s affecting somebody and that
you know
there’s somebody on the other end of
that box that really really
appreciates it and really feels good
that they’re getting
the amount of stuff that fills these
gins is incredible
um people want to help it’s lovely to
see what they’re doing
and all the letters that come back it’s
wonderful for them to see
all the soldiers unpacking the box they
might have put together
well there you go what an enthusiastic
pretty cool you know they love what
they’re doing yeah they know what
they’re doing
oh they learn no but they love what
they’re doing too
they love what they’re doing you know
they keep coming back they want to sign
up already again and uh it really does a
lot for your heart
uh i i deal with a lot of kids and a lot
of youth all the time
and you know ronnie and during the 60s
we grew up
my parents didn’t know if i was going to
make it to my 18th birthday
and sometimes it was about this close
you know what i’m talking about yeah
yeah yeah
each generation goes through that and i
tell these parents i said
look who you brought here today look
what they’re turning into we’re gonna be
we’re gonna get through it it’s not
gonna be all roses but we’re gonna be
even with the kids growing up now we’ll
be all right yeah like they say between
the givers and the and the pro and the
is better to give than receive yeah
there you go
and that you know my parents used to
tell me that all the time
yeah i you know i i i didn’t want to
believe that i mean
i wanted to get as much as i could
we’re all serious they’re all selfish
it’s like in their you know it’s
we’re born with it exactly you know and
i tell the kids
it’s there’s nothing wrong to be so fish
a lot of times you get up you want to
have something to eat
you want to brush your teeth you want to
put on clean clothes
that’s okay but once we get past all
that we see we have to find out what
else is going around
us amen and that’s right as a young kid
you’re right yeah they have to learn but
this is great for them
okay we got some questions uh questions
okay what have you got here there you go
how many care packages have you sent out
from day one to
today 24 468.
nice there you go okay thank you very
next god bless all the volunteers
there you go and they deserve it he has
marie kennemur wow united for the troops
and i saw
that he saw that you she saw you on
facebook paige
and when you really made what i saw a
guy that
you’ve got on your facebook page and
really made his days oh i see
very good one of the soldiers
uh that one of the military people that
we sent we try not to say soldiers as
much because you know there’s soldiers
airmen marines
right you know there’s a big difference
there ronnie right yeah
so servicemen but your service members
and that’s what we do
dear service members i forgot to tell
you each box that we have
could have 10 to 15 personal letters
from kids and and uh people in our
community wishing them well and then we
have soil packets
little packets of american soil and on
the outside it says
here’s a little bit of american soil so
you don’t feel so far from home
oh sweet and the second part of that
ronnie is that we got an email from a
marine combat um uh
medic and he said that he used to carry
it with him
that if they were going to have any
casualties they would make sure that it
was placed underneath them while they
they passed on so you know there’s a
there’s a lot of stuff going on with
different organizations and it’s
that’s classic symbolism really nice
really good all right another one
patrick blazer hello from lancaster ohio
hawk hill first armored cab division
headquarters company america division
tet 68-69 fighting parkinson’s disease
from asian artists now
but i am still hanging in there and
welcome all my brothers and sisters and
all of you that served in vietnam
thank you patrick we hope you recover or
stay hanging in there the best you can
drive on god bless patrick thank you
very much for your service
next okay al mar welcome home brother
thank you thank you
thank you the live from costa rica
that’s nice
this is worldwide this year’s show very
nice just like your stuff you throw your
stuff around
where is where does most of your stuff
go to the middle east now obviously it
is yeah
uh japan um
it’s just not combat troops
if it’s a if it’s a deployed military
and they’re
basically off-base you know and if we
get any
uh requests from somebody that doesn’t
have anything
it goes out and it gets to them i got
you okay so people can request stuff
sure gotcha is that it for the pictures
and the kind of questions okay
well unbelievable jim
you got some organization there well you
know it started with our family we have
eight kids
and it all started with them as the hub
and patty and ourselves
you know we were we were the top of that
hub but uh
it’s still run by patty and myself as as
as co-founders but the help that we get
from uh people in our community just
like you now you
over the months you wanted to get us
going on this this is going to be
another boost to us
because we have fundraising we have to
raise a lot of money uh
it cost over uh 500 000
just to ship those over through the post
we have to pay for postage all that kind
of stuff we do fundraisers
golf outings and car shows right all
that stuff
so this type of publicity that we’re
thankful for
to you and your son we’re very grateful
for it yeah well we’ve got about 150 000
uh followers on our facebook page so
that we’re going to put this on there
and let them know uh uh
we’re going to get we’ll talk to you
after the show to get something that we
could get an address or
or email and stuff for your your present
and there you go this is for you i’m
gonna send you a book about fallen never
forgotten vietnam memorial in the usa
so about all the men and women who never
came home
from vietnam thank you ronnie thank you
thank you brother take care and
where can we get more info for united
about united for the troops
okay they can go directly to our website
and everything that we do is there our
wish list is there
here’s our wish list things that we send
out all the time
all about the soil packets all about the
people that help us volunteer
opportunities all that there is all on
drop downs on our website
great you got it you got it together man
from day day one what what uh i don’t
i don’t know what happened ronnie but
something happened it freaking exploded
you were blessed man you were blessed
there you go
thank you so much thank you ronnie thank
you too
okay thank you take care bye
okay well thank you so much for
listening to the show
tonight and remember get your copy of
falling never forgotten at
fordham neverforgotten.com and
we’ll see you next week on veterans live
show 8 30 next wednesday
god bless you and welcome home