01/17/13 — Veterans need help with care packages

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Veterans need help with care packages

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 17, 2013 1:46 PM

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Audie Brown with his son, Nicolai, the day before the airman deployed to Afghanistan. He was the latest recipient of a care package project by local veterans.

They were neatly packaged and sent overseas -- the simple offerings donated by members of a community that prides itself on standing behind the men and women living within it who wear the nation's uniform.

Audie Brown was among those on the receiving end.

But the socks, boxed noodles, baby wipes and sunflower seeds that arrived in Afghanistan just in time for Christmas were not the last gifts the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base staff sergeant will acquire before his tour comes to an end.

Members of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition are making sure of that.

So they packed more boxes with Audie's name on them this week -- and will fill more, for other service members, until all American forces return from the war.

But Coalition President Bill Graham said the American Legion is no longer filled with the items that poured in when the organization he runs announced "Project We Care."

So in order to ensure more, like Audie, know just how much they are supported, Graham is asking his neighbors to, again, dig deep.

The airman's wife, Jamie, knows just how much it means to deployed troops to receive something from home -- a card, a letter ... anything.

"It's definitely really encouraging to them," she said when the campaign kicked off. "I think the biggest part isn't really the stuff, but it's about letting them know that we're thinking about them -- that we remember them even though they're not here."

Donations will continue to be collected at the Legion headquarters, located just beyond the Wayne County Fairgrounds and those interested in more information about the men and women who will be on the receiving end of the next offering -- and those who want to help offset the $29 per box shipping costs -- are asked to contact Graham at 919-394-2200.

Items on the troops' wish list include:

* White socks

* Baby wipes

* Ramen Noodles

* Lance Nabs varieties

* Coffee in filter packs

* Coffee creamer packs

* Sugar packs

* Cocoa packs

* Beef jerky

* Slim Jims

* Sunflower seeds

* Peanuts

* Sealed tuna packs with crackers

* Disposable razors

* Shave foam

* Deodorants

* Toothbrushes

* Toothpaste

* Mouth wash

* Unscented body lotion

* Soap

* Hand sanitizer

* Cigarettes

* Cigars

* Skoal

* Puzzle books

* Writing pads

* Envelopes

* Pens