Longview Group Packs Gifts For Troops - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/26/05-Longview

Longview Group Packs Gifts For Troops

A group of Longview churches have banded together to help spread holiday cheer to those who can't make it back during this season, those in service to our country overseas. Trying to make the holidays a little brighter for soldiers, volunteers from five Longview churches came together at St. Michael's to put together a little bit of home to be mailed to those in uniform overseas.

"All the community got together for the soldiers and marines and everybody here wanted to send something to know that we're thinking about them and we love them and we want them home soon," said Shannon Sutton who's son is a marine in Iraq.

For the last two Fourth of July's and Christmases, Operation Appreciation has been held to show troops that they are not forgotten stateside. Nearly 100 soldiers will receive gift boxes from the group, that includes toiletries, toothpaste , socks, soap, wet wipes and things they can't get overseas, their favorite snacks, and even cards from children.

"They all get chapped lips and don't get to take a bath every night so the wet wipes are going to be great and they'll just love the food," said Jo Hemmer , whose son is serving in Iraq.

"He doesn't know this is coming. Everything else he calls and wants so this one he'll be surprised about," Sutton said.

"I hope they'll realized that they're being supported even thought we may be in over our heads. We still need to support our youngsters who volunteered," said World War Two veteran Pete Blanton.

The packs will go to some soldiers they know, and some they've never met. Some have a close connection to the effort, having family members serving overseas, and terribly missing them at this time of year.

"Its hard. I miss him," says Sutton.

The gift boxes will be mailed out on Monday and should arrive in three weeks to troops overseas, just in time for Christmas.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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