A mother uses her finely honed crafting skills to bring a touch of Christmas spirit to her daughter's company of combat medics in Iraq.
Archangels. That was the “handle” for my daughter’s Army company. It was lots easier to remember than Company C, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Carson, Colorado. Ember and her fellow soldiers were combat medics; that is, they were charged with treating their brothers- and sisters-in-arms on the front lines.
In 2008, the Archangels deployed to Camp Echo, Iraq. A few months in I got a newsletter from the family readiness group. Would any of us like to contribute to the Christmas box they were sending our 70 company members for Christmas? I knew exactly what to do—create origami angel ornaments for everyone!
I discovered origami as a teen when I came across Secrets of Origami by Robert Harbin. Working in a quiet gift shop gave me ample free time and wrapping paper scraps for practice. It was a hobby I took into adulthood.
When my church was in search of a white and gold crèche for their Christmas tree, I had an idea. I found a design by Ligia Montoya, an Argentine artist who was called “The Angel of Origami.” She’d created a pattern for every element, from the Baby Jesus to a sheep. Each piece was elegant, and the angel was truly inspired.
I made the Nativities for other churches too, and as Christmas gifts for my friends and family. But the angel was my favorite piece to fold, and angel ornaments became my specialty.
Seventy origami angels for Ember’s unit was more than manageable. I got to work, folding about seven per hour. Each went into a ziplock bag, along with scripture verses and hooks so they could decorate a tree—if the unit had one.
The Archangels did hang their 70 angels on a Christmas tree at their aid station. Soon after Christmas, their operations shifted down to Basra, which was hotter, and where the hospital was a frequent mortar target. When the Archangels returned to Fort Carson, Colorado, in fall 2009, I got the news every parent wants to hear: All of them came home alive. We were blessed 70 times over.
For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Guideposts magazine.