From the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center:
One hundred deployed service members will soon receive packages filled with goodies collected through the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) “Treats for Troops” initiative, which collected more than 1,200 pounds of toiletries, healthy snacks, candy, drink mixes, coffee, gum, magazines, pens, paper and games. A U.S. Postal Service truck carried 124 care packages from ECBC on March 8 and now those boxes are headed to their final destination — the hands of a soldier.
“We’re sending our troops a little piece of home to brighten their day and let them know we’re thinking of them,” said Terry Gustafson, an ECBC environmental scientist and mother-in-law of Sgt. Scott Davis, who is currently serving as a public affairs specialist with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan.
Gustafson and Sue Procell, ECBC quality manager and mother of Cpl. Matthew Procell of the 3rd Radio Battalion stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, started the “Treats for Troops” campaign in 2010 — mailing 68 boxes to 44 soldiers.
The 2011 shipment nearly doubled in size as a result of increased participation and monetary donations from employees in organizations across the Edgewood Area- Aberdeen Proving Ground including ECBC, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Defense, Joint Program Managers, Edgewood Contracting Office and the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.
This year, support for the program even poured in from organizations beyond APG. Frontline Faith, a catholic non-profit ministry in Austin, Texas, donated 40 MP3 players loaded with seven hours of non-denominational content for deployed soldiers and VFW Post 7046 in York, Pa. contributed money to help cover the $1,500 shipping costs.
The community’s youth provided treats of their own for the cause as well. Girl Scout Troop 821 donated more than 500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and 99 toenail clippers. Students from Southeastern School District in York County, Pa., and Magnolia Elementary School in Harford County, wrote letters and drew pictures for the troops.
Along with the students’ letters and artwork, each box contained a personalized star note from MG Nick Justice, RDECOM’s commanding general, and handwritten notes from various employees expressing their gratitude to each soldier for their service to our country. One employee, Ann Butrow, a research chemist in ECBC’s Research and Technology Directorate, wrote a note to every soldier.
Before the doors closed on the U.S. Postal Truck, Procell was already setting ambitious goals for the next Treats for Troops shipment. “Next year, we’re going to fill two trucks,” she said.
ECBC employees Terry Gustafson, left, and Sue Procell received more than 500 boxes of cookies from Girl Scout Troop 821 for the annual ‘Treats for Troops’ initiative to provide care packages to deployed service members. Photo credit Melissa Sheets, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.