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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Care packages collected for troops

Saturday, April 21, 2007

North Putnam Middle School students (from left) Richard Elliott, Lacy Witt, Andrew Gibson, Tyler Shorter, Wes Ensor, Andrew Bell and Ross Hood prepare care packages for soldiers of the 1st Calvary Division of the U.S. Army, who are currently stationed in Iraq.
BAINBRIDGE -- Aaron Allee served in the military. He knows how important it is to troops when they receive packages in the mail from citizens.

Because of that, the former U.S. Marine Corp. member and current North Putnam Middle School art teacher recently asked his students if they would be interested in sending care packages to U.S. troops in Iraq.

The response was overwhelming.

"It's been huge," Allee said Friday morning.

Students in his seventh-grade art class put together care packages right before Christmas, which arrived to troops right before the holiday.

But that wasn't enough for the students, as they decided to send more packages to troops.

Allee said his students have recently started sending more care packages to members of the 1st Calvary Division of the U.S. Army, which is stationed in Sadr City, Iraq, an area getting much media attention recently.

"They just took off with it," Allee said of his students. "I have a lot of friends that are still over there. I felt like this school could do something."

According to Allee, the contact for the unit is from Rockville and previously worked at Crown in Greencastle.

He said students have gone to different businesses in the area asking for donations while others have given the list of possible donated items to their parents to take to work.

Allee said the care packages mean even more to troops now, especially since some have been assigned extended duty.

"It's a big ordeal, just trying to keep morale up there," Allee said.

Allee said there are 20-25 soldiers in the unit. Items that can be sent to them include eye drops, sun screen, sun glasses, pocket flashlights, Double-A batteries, Triple-A batteries, cold medicines, beef jerky, slim jims, baby wipes, trail mixes, toiletries, lemonade mixes, gatorade mixes, hot chocolate mixes, small cans of foot powder, international calling cards, sunflower seeds, hot sauce, seasoning for cooking, hard candy, gum, playing cards, magazines, word finds, soaps, antacids, neosporin, chap stick, dental floss, toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, shampoo, contact lens solution, work gloves, written letters, pens and pencils, paper, envelopes, Nyquil or Dayquil tablet, Tylenol, medical supplies, small boxes, disposable razors, travel size shaving cream and safety glasses.

Allee said the soldiers would need small packages so they can carry them. In addition, he stressed international calling cards are desired by troops because there are no free calls to homes.

Allee said he was touched by the students' reaction to the project.

"This shows how much heart these kids have," he said. "It shows how much respect they have."

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