Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 31, 2003

Cookies sent to military personnel are big hit

By Lynda Jensen

Cookies sent to military personnel by the Winsted Girl Scouts were received enthusiastically by military personnel at the Army base in Fort Eustis, Virg.

"They were almost tearful," reported an enthusiastic Jill Adrian, who is stationed there as an Army program manager.

She is the daughter of Darril and Linda Telecky of Winsted, and granddaughter of Don and LaVerne Custer of Howard Lake.

Many military personnel watch the news reports of CNN, much like civilians ­ and see nothing but protesters, she said. "It seems like Vietnam all over again," she said.

The package contained letters and pictures drawn by little ones, which were particularly appreciated, Adrian said.

One picture which had "Go USA, red, white, and blue all the way," drawn by Kimberly Condon, stood out in her mind, she said.

Adrian was a staff sergeant in the Air Force previously.

She offered the following tips for those interested in giving support to military troops:

Support our troops

There is a long tradition of writing letters and sending care packages to troops stationed away from home, according to the USA Freedom Corps.

The corps recently launched a new resource for people seeking to support troops called "On the Homefront."

To minimize delays and complications in getting this kind of support to our troops, the Department of Defense recommends the following:

· Through Operation Dear Abby, send e-mail messages to deployed troops of any Service from your home state, http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/.

· Through Defend America, sign an online thank you card for troops, www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html.

· Through Operation USA Care Package, contribute to the purchase of a care package of items requested by troops such as sunscreen, disposable cameras, prepaid calling cards, and toiletries, http://www.usocares.org/home.htm.

Help for families

Families of reservists, National Guard men and women and active duty military may need extra help in meeting basic home and family needs during deployment, according to the Freedom Corps.

There are many ways individuals, organizations, and businesses can offer their time and resources to help families of deployed troops.

Here are some of the opportunities available:

· The local chapters of the American Legion, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, BPO Elks of the USA, Camp Fire USA, National 4-H Headquarters, National Fraternal Congress of America, The Salvation Army, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and YMCA of the USA are among leading community service organizations providing ways for volunteers to help local military families.

· Working with the National Guard and Reserve, as well as with military bases, these organizations will match volunteers with families that need help in areas such as household repairs, spring cleanings or tutoring and direct those families to businesses and organizations that may be offering free or discounted services.

Volunteers can also help families, including those who own small businesses, with specialized skills like major repairs, financial planning or legal services.

· Some of these organizations are also helping to take care of children, after school and on the weekends, whose families have a parent or caregiver stationed away from home.

Service in communities

Individuals who want to help strengthen their community and America can do so through volunteer service.

Some communities may need particular help to replace valued volunteers who have been deployed.

Local opportunities for volunteer service such as mentoring a child, teaching someone to read, working in a local police department or serving at a local food shelter can be found through the USA Freedom Corps web site at www.usafreedomcorps.gov or by calling 877-USA-CORPS.

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