As the holiday season hurriedly approaches this year, the good people at Marking Products have been thinking about others, far, far away. In addition to the usual assortment of family and friends, they have also been thinking about Chaplain Rod Gilliam and the 800 members of 2BSTB Taskforce Lonestar, stationed in Afghanistan.
Through a program called A Soldier’s Wish List (www.asoldierswishlist.org), a non-profit organization that was established to support our troops serving in combat zones, we were put in touch with Chaplain Gilliam. “I had worked with them previously”, says Trish Koschak-Preffer, Accounts Payable Specialist at Marking Products, “and I thought it would be a wonderful philanthropy for us to take part in, especially with the holidays approaching.” The program pairs up volunteers with an “adopted” trooper, or in our case an entire company, that would appreciate the care packages from home.
Over the past couple of months, communications have been exchanged. The Chaplain would educate them on the Muslim period of Ramadan, which had just ended, and the potential danger that sometimes follows from the hands of the extremists. He also told them of his love of “bringing God to Soldiers, and Soldiers to God”, and all the good work he does over there. You can tell that the soldiers there really value their time with the Chaplain and all that he does for and with them. Of particular popularity are the library they have accumulated and the Chapel’s Worship Band, who not only performs to a full house every Sunday, but are also in high demand the rest of their available time.
The donations starting coming in almost immediately. From food items, such as soup, peanut butter, and snack chips, to toiletries and personal care items, such as shampoo and flip-flops, Marking Products accumulated over 800 items for the soldiers. Books, magazines, DVD’s, and even home-baked treats and a Steelers jersey were included. “Everyone here was extremely generous”, said Jennifer Hudson, Network Administrator. In addition to the donations, several people also contributed their time by shopping or baking at home, while others helped pack and drop off the boxes. Management also offered to cover the freight costs to ship all of the goods.
Shipments began on November 9th and everything is on track to deliver to the troops by Christmas. Everyone here wishes the soldiers a peaceful holiday season and hope they get to enjoy next year’s holidays back home with friends and family.