Some soldiers serving overseas will have a brighter Christmas now that some local businesses and organizations have reached out to them.
The “Adopt-A-Soldier for Christmas” campaign, sponsored by the Esselte Corporation with the help of several others, sent 100 boxes to soldiers stationed at Camp Marmal, Afghanistan.
Beth Blome, the training manager at Esselte’s Union plant, headed the effort to gather gifts for the servicemen and -women.
She said there were 94 boxes sent to members of the 55th Mobility Augmentation Company (MAC), as well as six boxes that were sent to the entire company.
Blome explained that Camp Marmal is an international camp and the MAC does whatever needs to be done to ensure a route remains open.
“They clear IEDs, make bridges . . . they do anything to get troops into the area,” she said. “They go in first.”
These soldiers conduct route clearance missions to ensure mobility of coalition forces. In addition to this primary mission, they will also conduct limited infantry operations.
Local businesses dropped off their care packages at Esselte where they were addressed for mailing. Esselte paid for the postage of the packages.
Esselte was assisted by Focus Workforce Management, the Union Moose Lodge, the Route 66 Auto Club, B and B Safety, the East Central College Student Government Association, and Jeffiriesburg 4-H Club.
Because of their remote location, packages take longer than normal to arrive, and even the Army supplies are not always reliable. The weather is turning colder there and the soldiers lack enough blankets, warm socks, gloves and other cold weather items. They also miss food and treats from home.
Many of the items sent to the soldiers were meals to cook in only boiling water, canned and boxed meals, some hygiene products, CDs and DVDs, snacks, batteries, cold weather clothing, and other items.
This is the fourth year for the “Adopt-A-Soldier for Christmas” campaign spearheaded by Esselte.