Local bank, military support group team up for the troops
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Wisconsin military troops in Afghanistan will be receiving a little extra love from home in the coming weeks. The Rhinelander Military Support Unit will be sending boxes overseas filled with items collected from area Peoples State Bank branches.
More than 7,700 items, 1,400 Christmas cards and $672 in cash were collected from customers at Peoples’ nine northern and central Wisconsin branches. The totals are up from last year.
“We’re really thrilled with the response,” said Randy Winter of Peoples Bank. “We’re happy to be able to help send care packages to Wisconsin soldiers stationed around the world.”
Rhinelander Military Support Group organizer LeRoy Eades had been having difficulty locating an overseas contact to which he could send the supplies. But at an event at Camp American Legion over the summer, Eades met a chaplain who provided the name of a fellow chaplain in Afghanistan.
“We’re going to ship 25 boxes to him; he has five units over there and he will distribute the stuff,” Eades said. Items to be packed up and shipped include snack foods, clothing, socks, t-shirts, personal care items and blankets.
The idea of providing these sorts of pick-me-up gift boxes began in 2001 with Operation Shoebox, initiated by Eades and Army veteran Ray Zastrow. Now the organization has graduated to using USPS Priority mail boxes, Eades said, “because it doesn’t make any difference what the weight is so we just shovel everything we can in there.”
All of the donations will be taken to the Eades home where they will be sorted and packed.