Town adopts 101st Airborne unit

Published: December 23, 2005 | 3098th good news item since 2003

Showing support for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by displaying yellow ribbons in offices and homes and on vehicles is good, but the people of this community will have a real chance to show their support in the coming year.

The city has adopted a unit of the 101st Airborne Division as a part of the American Supporting Americans program. There are about 90 members in Bravo Battery, Fourth Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, the Fourth Brigade Combat Team of the storied 101st Airborne Division.

The city will pay postage for all the items donated for the unit and is collecting things to be sent early next year. The unit which trained in Fort Campbell has not been posted to a permanent site, but when the members are deployed, the city will have the address. It will be too late to send holiday gifts for troops.

Residents of the city and all of Mercer County will be asked to write letters to the troops once the address is received.

Mayor Lonnie Campbell’s son-in-law, Brian Lackey, served a stint in Iraq, flying helicopters. “Brian said, ‘You can’t believe how important a letter from home is,”‘ Campbell said Thursday.

The city already has names of members of the unit and once that all-important address has been established, anyone wanting to write a letter to any of the troops may get names and addresses from City Hall.

Hopes to get schools involved

Campbell said he hopes to involved schools in writing letters to troops. As for care packages, Linda Patterson of ASA says the most requested item is protein bars in a variety of flavors. The higher the protein content, the more valuable they are as a meal replacement or supplement, she said.

Any other preserved snacks are welcome, Patterson said in a list of items to send to the troops. They include candy and snack bars, cookies, candy, Slim Jim’s meat product, microwave popcorn, chewing and bubble gum, breath mints, quick meals, bowl dinners, dry cereals that can be eaten straight from the box, microwaveable dinners, nonalcoholic drinks, powered drinks, instant coffee and individual packets of coffee creamers and powdered hot chocolate.

Patterson said Starbucks double shots are “worth more than gold over there.”

Desert brutal on skin and hair

While female soldiers are not supposed to be concerned about their appearance, “The desert environment is brutal on skin and hair,” she said. So hair shampoos and conditioners, hand and body lotions, face masks and deep clearness, rich soaps, deodorants, sunscreen, manicure kits and insect repellants are needed.

“No perfumes please: they attract camel files,” she said.

A more complete list of products and needs of the troops can be obtained at City Hall.

When shopping for items, it doesn’t hurt to tell store personnel where the products are going. Patterson said she got discounts from store owners when they learned the products were for the troops.

Campbell said he is going to try to involve some of the stores here in the project that will run through 2006. Some churches are participating in the drive to get favorite products and letters to the unit’s soldiers. Cambpell would like more churches to join the project. The city hopes to ship out a package every four to six weeks, the mayor said.

Money also will be accepted, he said. City Hall workers will use the money donate to purchase items for the men and women oversees. Patterson said not to send homemade food items.

Published in Charity, Life
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