Beef Jerky for the Troops

Debbie Diem emailed me after I’d sent the last newsletter to chat.  First of all, I love it when readers contact me just for the heck of it, I’ve “met” so many of you this way.  Then we chatted about her sending beef jerky to our troops.  I asked her if she’d be willing to share her story and she was gracious enough to share, so I wanted to share it with all of you.  
I’ll begin by saying, Thank you Debbie, for all of your hard work, sacrifice and dedication to our troops.  I’m sure they appreciate it as well.  Now, here’s Deb’s story.
Here is the beef jerky tale.  lol  I met Randy Sewell (RLS Photography) at A Weekend With The Author and ended up becoming FB friends.  He mentioned on FB that one of his models, Jason Estes, was being deployed and he gave contact info for a woman managing Jason’s company’s wishlist of things they’d like people to send while they are deployed.  So I contacted Leah and got the link to the wishlist and sent a couple of goodie boxes of things from the wishlist.  And things I thought they would enjoy.  I had a ball at the local farmers market buying hard candy (root beer barrels, butterscotch discs, mints, etc) from the Amish stall.  And the directions said, don’t send chocolate because
it’s a melted mess by the time they get it. 
I was sitting here one day thinking, that’s a shame, I know the women would probably love some chocolate.  And then I thought…melts in your mouth, not in your hands, M&Ms!  So I sent my daughter out to find the biggest bag of M&M’s she could find. (I didn’t even know M&M’s came in party size.)  I added that to the loot and in my note to Jason I told him, I know they said no chocolate, so the M&M’s are a test.  After he got the package he sent a note saying the M&M’s survived.  So if you hear of anyone sending packages to the troops, you can suggest M&Ms instead of chocolate.  I don’t remember if it was after I sent the first boxes or after Jason sent a thank you, but I posted on FB that I had sent a couple boxes to the troops and how good I felt that I was able to do that.  Hmmm, maybe I should have mentioned I’m disabled, so most of the things I used to do without thinking about, are a bit of a challenge now.  So yes, I was proud of myself.  Then in my post on FB I mentioned how every wish list I’ve ever seen from the troops has had beef jerky at the top of the list. 
I went on to say I wish my disability was enough that I could buy the beef to make enough jerky for Jason’s company, but I just couldn’t afford that.  I went on about my business and later that night I got a message from my friend BJ asking me about sending stuff and that she’d like to send something.  So I told her I’d give her Jason’s address.  She hemmed and hawed around and finally said, why don’t I send you $100 to make beef jerky.  So I said, sure, you send money for the beef, I’ll pay the rest and the shipping. 
I posted on FB that it looks like I’d be making jerky for the troops after all because I had a $100 donation.  A few minutes later I had a reply from that post from Jack that said, I’ll add to that.  So I got another check for $50 from him.  I waited till the roasts were on sale and it was time to strike.  lol  The only problem was when I called to see if the store needed a warning to have that much roast available, the woman said, “You know there is a limit of one on that offer?”
I explained what I was doing and she said she couldn’t make an exception.  So I had her get the meat dept. manager on the phone and explained to her what I was doing.  She said she would have a roast big enough I might only need 2.  I had already picked up a couple while I was waiting for one of the checks to get here when they were on sale at another store, so I told the woman that would be fine.  hahaha  I’ve never seen such big roasts, they had 2 roasts waiting for us at the store and the way they were labeled, we were able to buy both massive chunks of meat for the sale price.  Nice meat too, they had all of the fat trimmed. 
The next day I started slicing and soaking the meat and by the next morning the whole house was wearing beef jerky perfume.  That’s the down-side of making beef jerky, it makes the house smell so good, you’re always hungry.  lol  Don’t ever make turkey jerky though, that will stink up your house so bad you’ll want to move.  I took a week of slicing, soaking and dehydrating to get all that meat done.  I have 2 dehydrators and they both ran around the clock.  I bought the biggest size ziplock bags and filled them up.  Filled two boxes and off they went.  I didn’t think they would arrive in time for Christmas, but Jason emailed me a day or two after Christmas to tell me that the boxes had arrived.   So I figured they had made it in time for Christmas or close enough for me to
be happy.  I had added a note to the box telling Jason he didn’t need to send me a thank you note like he did the first time I sent boxes but gave him the addresses of the two people that had sent money for the meat.  They both informed me later that Jason had sent them thank you notes.  End of story. 
I attached the rest of the photos I had, I don’t have any photos of the boxes I sent, never thought of that.  
I did send my daughter to the store to get another roast and made one more small batch.  I bagged some of that and sent to BJ because she said she wanted a sample.  Then I took a bag to Jack.  He wasn’t home, so I hid it on his porch so the critters couldn’t get it and came home and sent him a message where to find it.  lol  Everyone was happy.
I’ve never had anyone that likes jerky try it and not love it.  I would take it in to work before I was disabled and my mechanics would fight over who gets the bag that has the most.  I think one of my kids had a bag hidden in their room for when the bags in the fridge ran empty.  People go crazy for it.  The mechanics at work hated when I took vacation because I knew how to run the machine with minimum calls to them.  Once I started bringing them a bag of beef jerky before I left that I made to take on vacation…they didn’t seem to mind me being gone so much. 
Now the kids are all grown so it just me and my youngest daughter when we travel.  So our last trip to Nashville I asked her if she wanted some jerky for the trip…lol…why I even asked I don’t know.  Since I was making a batch I sent Donna and JM a note to see if they wanted any.  So I ended up taking a bunch of bags with me.  KaLyn wasn’t going to be at AWWTA last year but we stopped and had lunch with her and Rachel Rivers on the way to Nashville so they got TastyKakes and jerky.  I knew KaLyn doesn’t like jerky but she said her son does.  TastyKakes are what we usually take to book events.  lol  I won’t bring them to this event, since it’s being held in the middle of TastyKake land.  They’re made in Philly.  You can get them in any grocery store around in family size boxes with six packs of cakes in each box.  Convenience stores and gas stations usually have single serving packs.
I’m looking forward to meeting you next month.  You won’t be able to miss me, I’ll be the old fat woman in the pink wheelchair.  Oh, you can sign my chair!!  lol  Who needs an autograph book when I can have people sign my chair, right?  
That’s a whole different story.  Anyway, flag me down if you see me rolling around before I see you.  
See you next month!
Take care and safe travels,
It was a pleasure reading Deb’s email and her story about Jerky for the Troops, and I’m grateful she allowed me to share it.  Thanks, Deb, for your dedication to the troops and I look forward to meeting you next month at Salute with Love!!!!!

2 thoughts on “Beef Jerky for the Troops”

  1. Hi PJ,
    I’m not one to regularly respond to newsletters but I do love reading them. I’m not big into social media because I have few friends, don’t really have pictures to post nor much to say; pretty much lead an uneventful life. Probably doesn’t help that I work from home. I’m writing because I wanted to say thank you for sharing your stories and news about you personally. It lets me pretend you’re part of my circle of friends..
    Another reason I’m writing is to say thank you for sharing Deb’s beef jerky story. I try to support our troops when can but would love to do more. What Deb does is amazing and I thank her! If she would like to make more jerky, I would be more than happy to contribute to her efforts by sending money for beef, etc. It sounds like they truly appreciate & enjoy her packages. Thanks for everything! lisa

    • Thanks for replying Lisa. It’s good to know people are reading. I’ll let Deb know you’re happy to help and thank you for doing what you can to support our troops.

      PS. I hope I am in your circle of friends.

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