Christmas gifts from home
going to Iraq
A variety of gifts, including decorations
and hometown souvenirs, were packed Saturday for reserve soldiers serving
in Iraq from the Marquette area. A card from the popular local band "Da
"Keep your head down and your powder
Marquette - Well-wishers
supporting a Marquette Army reserve unit will be heading to the ost office
today with a load of Christmas gifts, goodies and souvenirs bound for Iraq.
"We wanted to do something
for Christmas for them," said Nicole Robinson of Marquette, whose husband
William Robinson is a specialist serving the 652nd Engineer Company based
Roughly two dozen
volunteers packed up nearly a ton of goods for the soldiers in Marquette
Saturday afternoon. About $4000.00 was contributed to the effort
"We've had over 80
contributors, whether it be business or personal, some of whom have donated
their time to help package this stuff up," Robinson said.
The 44 containers,
which weighed about 20 pounds each, held a wide variety of items ranging
from pillows, towels and food, copies of the Porcupine Press newspaper
and thermal shirts and DVD movies to a Yooper glossary and Da Yoopers new
CD, "Songs for Fart Lovers."
The soldiers are also
being sent 10 artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, coffee pots, toasters
and a microwave oven.
"We wanted to make
them a little more comfortable," said Patty French, one of the organizers
of the event along with Robinson.
French, whose sister,
Spec. Elizabeth Belt of Marquette, serves with the unit, said the community
outpouring and support for the "Christmas in Iraq" project was overwhelming.
"We want to say thank
you," French said. 'I got 5 to 10 calls a day from people who wanted to
show support for these guys and I'm just glad we had some way to do it."
Organizers began collecting
items for the gift packs about three months ago. The packages will take
roughly three weeks to reach the soldiers in Iraq, where the unit has reportedly
just moved into huts from sleeping in tents. The new accommodations relieve
the troops from dealing with fleas.
The 652nd is expected
to return to the Upper Peninsula next spring.
Amy Armstrong, A ninth
grade Gwinn High School teacher and fiancé to unit member Mike Laitinen
of Negaunee, said students created a wonderful collection of poetry that
Armstrong decided to include in the gift parcels for the troops.
The students called
their effort "With many Pens We Write, With One Heart We Fight."
Robinson, whose brother-in-law is William Robinson, said she's very proud
of all the men and women fighting for our country in Iraq. She wanted to
do something to help show support.
"They're all over
there fighting for us," Robinson said, laying some red Christmas tissue
paper over a gift box. "It's the least I can do."
By John Pepin - Journal Staff Writer