We’d always wanted to show our support to our troops serving overseas but didn’t know anyone personally who was serving. Neither one of us was in the military nor were any family members, except for Chris’s Dad being in the Air Force during the Korean War (which is how the StJohn family ended up in the Dayton area) stationed in
Japan. Since 9/11, you couldn’t send a package addressed to ‘Any Solider’ so we weren’t able to send any letters or care packages to let our troops know how much we appreciated them and what they do for us.
Then we found the website www.anysoldier.com and chose 9 contacts to send packages to for Christmas. We sent the 9 packages on Dec. 9th, 2003 and hoped they’d get there by Christmas. After the first of the year we started getting letters back from the troops telling us how much they appreciated the packages and how thankful they were for support. One letter was written on Christmas Eve and another was written on Christmas day. That meant a lot to us and it also showed us the packages DID make it for Christmas. So we sent another 6 packages in Jan. We also had kids groups making cards which we put in the boxes we sent to the troops. When the word got out about what we were doing, the Brookville AMVETS Post 1789 and the Brookville VFW Post 3288 wanted to get involved and help with donations. We have hundreds of cards/letters/emails and pictures which we’ve put into an album. We talk about our Operation to local service organizations like the Women’s group at church, Brookville and Northmont Optimist, Northmont Rotary, Kiwanis K-Kids, etc. With the help of donations from the AMVETS and VFW and their auxiliaries, local groups and individuals and Sam’s Club we’ve been able to send almost 2,000 care packages to almost 800 contacts/units, in 18 different countries. The total weight of items shipped so far is over 50,000 pounds!
The countries we’ve sent to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kosovo, Philippines, Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, USA,
Germany, Bahrain, United Arab Emerates, Colombia and Teceira (a Portuguese owned island)
Some of the different items we’ve sent include dog food for adopted puppies for unit mascots and treats and toys for our K-9 working dogs, school supplies for the children in Afghanistan and Iraq, children’s and adult clothing for the many humanitarian efforts our troops are handling in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially near the Pakistan border where they were devastated by the earthquakes last year, sports equipment, coffee pots, bread makers, microwave ovens, as well as toiletries, snacks, cake mixes, DVD’s, CD’s, disposable cameras, film, magazines, books, games and even fishing poles and lures. We are always looking for great bargains and clearance items and use coupons to get the best deal possible when we can.
Anyone who hears about us and has a friend or family member overseas, can give us their shipping address and we can send a package and/or guide them through the process when they want to do it themselves (which we encourage, as more support is welcomed). Also, almost anyone can send a card or letter or drawing to any of the soldiers, which helps them know that they are not forgotten. We try to make sure we show support to our local service members, then we fill in by getting more addresses from the AnySoldier website. We get new names weekly!
We’ve been fortunate enough to meet 47 of our troops so far.
Operation Show Our Love
Cindy Millikin and Lambert Tynes Contact us at CindyMillikin@gmail.com
Brookville, OH 45309