CEDAR CITY, UT PACKAGING/CONCERT/FAMILY DAY OCT. 8, 2011
Thank you Sally and hubby, Todd Hoggard and Lin's Jan and Kaitlin for riasing the $6,000 for the postage for the 222/213th's care packages, and picking up 1,000 school binders for their kids, and all the 500 each of all Letters to Soldiers collected for the care packages and driving it dwn in this great Patriotic Truck. How beautiful to see this:
As Grandpa of a soldier gave the opening prayer and a sister and her friends sung the National Anthem, all of us shared this special moment with awe of all those 150 flags around the park.
Roger and the Muddy Boots Band were perfect and Roger heard THank Yous on his FB from Iraq soldiers thanking him.
All volunteered in town that morning to make this the most patriotic scene.
Mae of Weddings Decor and her husband set up two heaters at 6am and this beautiful 20 x 30 tent that housed our packaging items
Everyone packaged the NEWAYS sunscreen, NAture's Sunshine Silver Shields, Tahitian Noni Lotion and Aftershave and Young Living Red Juice into 500 Gallon sized Zip Lock Baggies ready to put in bottom of boxes all set up for the families and volunteers to make the care packages. Everyone got into the effort.
Sally from AFStores Corp office and her dear husband froze with we feet since 6am and worked so hard to make sure all was done.
One of soldiers' girlfriends and her friends sang the anthem after driving down from Parowan.
Donna from the Happy Factory brought 400 hand made cards for the kids of the soldiers, and the FRGs were giving 1000 Tahitian Noni School Binders, 500 Build A Bear coloring Books, and 100 toys from The Corner STation of Fairview brought by Katie who manned the food tables all day of food from Cravings, Rusty's Ranchhouse, Costa Vida, Dominoes, The Pastry Pub, Chili's, Little Ceasars, Pizza Hut, Freestyle Pizza, 5 Buck Pizza, Cotton Candy from FunTimeInflatables, and LIN's kids games.
from The Specturm Newspaper: http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20111009/NEWS01/110090324/Christmas-its-way-Southern-Utah-soldiers
Thank you Donna for jumping in and
managing filling the beautiful handmade stockings with 500 Payson Fruit Growers Dried Cherries with special label: , Phillips 500 bags of Handcrafted Chocolates, 500 Cell Phones for Soldiers 100 minute calling cards, 500 large homemade Santaquin ladies' Rice Krispie Treats, Brownies and other great treats, Colonial Flags, and hand warmers donated by Wilma in St. George along with her beautiful hand made stockings.
Christmas on its way to Southern Utah soldiers
CEDAR CITY - The rain and cold Saturday did not dampen the spirits of more than 150 volunteers who gathered at Main Street Park to prepare 500 Christmas packages for members of the Utah National Guard 222nd Field Artillery Unit and the 213th Forward Support Company stationed in Iraq.
Volunteers from Southern Utah University, and even outside the state, huddled under canopies filling plastic bags with items such as shampoo, candy, dried fruit and health drinks like Tahitian Noni. Santa Claus was on hand to help soldiers' families wish their loved ones overseas a Merry Christmas, and notes were also written to be stuffed in the soldiers' packages that included handmade Christmas stockings.
Michelle Challman, who drove from Antelope Valley, Calif., was busy filling bags with hygiene items. She traveled the lengthy distance to participate in the 5th Annual Operation Ensuring Christmas Packaging Day because her 19-year-old nephew, Anthony Ibarra, is deployed with the 222nd, she said. Her sister-in-law, Alicia Ibarra, Anthony's mother, and her in-laws told her about the event and she wanted to join the effort.
Alicia Ibarra said she lives in Parowan and meets with other families of deployed soldiers monthly. Many women are having a difficult time caring for their children alone without their husbands at home, she said. She expressed her strong desire for her son, along with all the other men and women serving with him, to come home safely "and soon."
Amanda Lanier was at the park lending a helping hand and said she appreciated everyone's help with supporting the troops, especially considering that her husband, Jared Lanier, is serving with the 213th.
"It's nice that everyone came out to do something for the soldiers," she said.
Disabled veteran Kenneth Duke drove from Mesquite to participate in the packaging festivities. He served with the Air Force in Vietnam in 1967-1968, and said he suffers from exposure during his service to the toxin Agent Orange. His involvement in the Christmas effort for the soldiers in the Middle East was his way of "giving back," he said. He remembered receiving care packages when he was deployed to a foreign country, although those efforts were not as big as Saturday's event, he added.
Cedar City Mayor Joe Burgess spoke briefly during a patriotic ceremony in the afternoon. He said "Our troops that have been deployed have had tens of thousands of prayers offered on their behalf."
Offering her own prayers with service and founding of the nonprofit Letters to Soldiers, Denise Devynck, who organized the packaging effort, thanked the volunteers and numerous donors for their generosity and patriotism that made the event possible.
"You are true Americans," she said.
She also recognized Associated Foods Lin's Supermarket in Cedar City for raising $3,500 to pay for the postage needed to send all 500 packages through the efforts of Sally Schmitz, who works with corporate human resources. Lin's employees Jan McIntyre and Kaitlin Sorensen were also given accolades for their assistance." Oct. 9, 20111Cathy wentz The Spectrum St. George
OPERATION ENSURING CHRISTMAS V PACKAGING DAY
From some of our participants:
From Muddy Boots Band Roger:
" You are such an amazing person. ...Glad We met and thanks for all you do. I already have Facebook Messages from Iraq thanking us...."
"Thank you for all that you do.
I hope you have had time to recover from a fabulous weekend in
Cedar!! You did a marvelous job and although at times things seemed out
of control.... it all came together and soon there will be 500 excited
soldiers opening boxes from home!!
I have a cooler full of lotion and a cooler full of cleaning wipes I
need to get back to you, as well as your chairs. We just need to find a
time to meet up.
Let me know what your schedule is and I will get these left over items to you!!!
Thanks for the opportunity to help serve Letters to Soldiers and the families of triple deuce and 213! It was an honor!"
364th Civil Affairs Brigade
Family Programs Steering Committee
405th Civil Affairs Battalion
Family Readiness Group Leader
Dear Denise -
I am in total "shock & awe" over what I have seen over the past few weeks! The packaging party was amazing and I am so sorry for what you had to go through to make it happen - including having to deal with the moved up timing, the weather, volunteer shortage and more.
I hope you will be able to recover soon. I can tell you give your all to this cause and it is very much appreciated.
I was so glad to come and see everything come together.
I would like to help as much as I can. It helps that I now have a better idea of what is entailed in the whole process of what you do and have seen it first hand.
I will work to make the Facebook page better and to get more people on it. If you would like I could work on the website too, if it is a program or process I know how to work.
If you have any time in the near future, would it be possible to meet with you in Orem so I could map out some of the needs you have for
your web presence and get a feel for what is on the horizon? Also,
with more time I think I can get some products for future efforts from some of my wholesale suppliers.
Again, I know you are probably still knee deep in packages but I hope you'll be able to rest and recuperate soon.
The Corner Station
Alex wrote: "Thanks for the tip! We've done several stories on the "Letters to Soldiers" mission. Here are a few of them;
Thanks for your service to all the men and women serving in the armed
forces. I was pleased to be a part of such an endevor. Can you please
email me your mailing address so I can send you some of the DVD's of the
event. I will also be sending the RAW video on DVD's.
A very special Thank You goes to Shirleen Bess, Former DAV State Auxilliary Commander and her wonderful Seniors for making over 1,500 Beautiful Handmade Christmas Stockings for the deployed Utah Soldiers.