Many area businesses and local groups are participating in ‘Operation Soldier Care,’ which was started as a community service project for ERA Town and Country Real Estate. According to Becky Stein-Lambert of ERA, items are currently being collected to send to the troops.
Containers to collect items are located at all area schools as well as various local businesses, including ERA Town and Country Real Estate, Fruth’s Pharmacy in Point Pleasant, Auto Options in Mason, Farmers Bank in Point Pleasant, City National Bank, Peoples Bank, Point Financial Service-Larry Jones, Health Aid Pharmacy in New Haven, Big Country 99, Ohio Valley Bank and Peoples Federal Credit Union.
In addition, Lambert said that each school classroom will adopt a soldier for the entire duration of their deployment. One local school is already working on getting items for Operation Soldier Care. According to Pat Brumfield, principal of Beale Elementary School, students have been collecting items since the soldiers left in February.
Brumfield said that the collection bin is a tent, so there is plenty of room to collect needed items to send to the 1092nd.
“We have added to the excitement of the collection as well,” she said. “The homeroom that brings in the most items will enjoy a special outing in our outdoor classroom.”
Lambert encouraged everyone to donate items.
“As the containers fill up we are asking businesses to call and we will send someone to pick them up and then replace them with an empty container,” Lambert said. “As items are collected we will probably have a big room to sort and package items up.”
Items needed include, disposable cameras, Frisbees, portable CD players, new and used CDs or DVDs, puzzles, magazines, comic books, decks of cards, checkers and dominos, Play Station and Xbox games, Daily/Sunday newspapers, paperback books, pre-sweetened powdered drink mixes, dried fruit, tuna and chicken in pouches, single servings of cereal, instant coffee bags, tea bags, microwave popcorn, sardines, granola bars, instant oatmeal, crackers, candy without chocolate, gum, soup, nuts, sunflower seeds, instant cappuccino mix, beef jerky, ice pops that can be frozen, snack cakes, bandannas, international phone cards, paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, baby wipe-small packs, shampoo, blank post cards, blank Birthday cards, cards for events throughout the year and plastic cutlery.
Lambert said that she has spoken with 1st Sgt. Ryan Powers regarding the donated items. According to Lambert, Powers said that once items are shipped and received they will be placed in a room for the local soldiers to pick up. As for other local soldiers in southwest Asia, Lambert said that they can be included too.
“Even if they are not in the guard group, but are in the military and stationed in southwest Asia, we can send them items. We just need an address and we will ship items to them,” she said.
Lambert encouraged the community to support Operation Soldier Care.
“They’re serving our country, They’re preserving our freedom,” she said. “This is a good project and the guys need it.”
She added that Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings and Dr. William Capehart, superintendent of Mason County Schools, have been very supportive of the project. She also commended the community for their support.
“People have been coming in off the street to make donations,” she said.
According to Lambert, prior to leaving for southwest Asia members of the 1092nd took U.S. flags with them. When they return, the flags can be purchased for a donation of $200. Although it could be up to 15 months until the soldiers return, plans are already in the works for their arrival.
“We will have a party for them when they get back,” Lambert said.
For more information on Operation Soldier Care, call the ERA office at 304-675-5548.