12/13/11 — A little taste of home

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A little taste of home

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 13, 2011 1:46 PM

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Jan Green makes a a cookie care package during the annual Airmen Cookie Drive on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The cookies are to be distributed to single airmen living in the dorms on base. Organizers hope to give out 600 dozen cookies.

They will not embrace a brother or sister on Christmas Eve.

They won't wake up to the smell of their mother's cooking the following morning.

Not this year, anyway.

So even though it might seem like a simple gesture, members of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's Officer and Civilian Spouses Club consider their annual holiday project -- the Airmen Cookie Drive -- a critical effort.

"It's really hard to be away from home on the holidays," said Angela Ruona, the organizer of this year's drive. "The smallest thing you can do can make the biggest difference."

It started in kitchens across the base grounds and beyond -- men, women and children baking everything from chocolate chip to snowman-shaped confections.

And after Wayne County schoolchildren chipped in handmade Christmas cards, the care packages were nearly complete.

But they still had to be packaged -- a card and a dozen cookies for each of the 560 airmen who will benefit from the program this year.

So with pizza and snacks on hand -- and Christmas music blaring over the speakers -- to keep them going, members of the OCSC worked tirelessly Monday evening to ensure their Wednesday delivery would be made without a hitch.

Dee Dee Doherty was among them.

"I think these kind of things are really touching," she said. "When the airmen get the cookies and the cards, they'll feel loved and appreciated."

And it will likely boost morale among men and women who, particularly during the holiday season, might be feeling down.

"I think it's just important to bring a little bit of home to them," said Mrs. Doherty, wife of the installation commander. "It's really important."

It is unclear whether or not enough cookies have been donated to date -- the group's goal was 600 dozen -- so those who wish to make a last-minute donation are asked to drop off their creations in the sleigh just inside the Heritage Hall front door by Wednesday morning.

But one thing, Mrs. Ruona said, is certain.

"It will make a difference for these airmen," she said. "Everyone loves a surprise."