We received the following letter and photo from Deborah Mullen, wife of Admiral Mullen, Charmian of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We were touched and comforted by this letter.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Vinnedge,
I am sorry that this must have been a very difficult Christmas season for you and your family.
Michael and I continue to keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.
When we met at Dover AFB you shared several wonderful stories about Phillip - about his love for children and how this really tall young man would dress up as a Christmas elf or an Easter bunny. You also asked if Toys for Tots could be donated in his name - how pleased that would make him, and how much comfort that would bring you.
Every year since Michael has been the Charmian of the Joint Chiefs' of Staff we have hosted a holiday party for wounded warriors, their families, and the families of those who have lost a loved one as a result of these two wars.
We ask that in lieu of gifts to us, folks might want to donate a gift to Toys for Tots. This year, all the toys and money that was collected was donated in memory of your son, Phillip. During our day long party Toys for Tots received 359 toys and $500 in cash. There were two shifts of Marines who man the Toys for Tots box and handle all the cash donations. I have enclosed a disk with photos of some of the gifts and the two shifts of Marines with Michael and me and there is one with Micheal and General Amos.
I realize there is really nothing that will take away the sadness and loneliness you must feel, but hope the joy and happiness these toys will bring to the children and teens who receive them in memory of Phillip will remind you that your son will never be forgotten, and that we will always honor his service to our country.