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Stadalsky: Military overseas thank Shorewood Knights for care packages

The catapult electricians of CVN-77 of the USS George H.W. Bush send thanks for the care package from Knights of Columbus of Holy Family Parish in Shorewood. They are EMFN Battle (from left), EM3 Koehn, EM3 Petty, EM1 Robertson, EMFN Morris, EM2 Reisch, EM3 Cutts, and EM3 Lewis.
The catapult electricians of CVN-77 of the USS George H.W. Bush send thanks for the care package from Knights of Columbus of Holy Family Parish in Shorewood. They are EMFN Battle (from left), EM3 Koehn, EM3 Petty, EM1 Robertson, EMFN Morris, EM2 Reisch, EM3 Cutts, and EM3 Lewis.

SHOREWOOD – Several weeks back I wrote about care packages that are sent to our deployed troops overseas. These particular packages came from the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Parish in Shorewood. K. of C. partners with Operation Care Package and together they collect needed and cherished items from home and notes from school kids, and get the packages to our men and women in the military.

Just this year, the Shorewood K. of C. collected 1,500 pounds of food and other items plus an additional $2,145 in cash to help Operation Care Package with postage.

John Thompson of the Shorewood K. of C. shared with me how much he had appreciated receiving packages from home when he was stationed in Vietnam. The packages, which come from many organizations, make the days of our service men and women much brighter and boost their morale, Thompson told me. And he knows firsthand.

So when Thompson received a thank you via email from a group of U.S. Navy electricians aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, he wanted to share it with our readers to show how much those care packages really do mean to our service men and women.

While their exact whereabouts are not being published for their safety, Catapult Electrician Leading Petty Officer EM1 Robertson stated they are assisting in an attempt to subdue those who mean harm to our country.

“I want to take a moment of my day to thank all of you for kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness in participating in Operation Care Package and giving us bits of joy while deployed,” wrote Robertson, whose first name I was asked not to publish.

“I wanted you to know that these care packages lift the morale of my entire shop, as even though we do not know any of you personally, just receiving a box lets us know that someone was thinking of us,” Robertson continued. “As a small division within this grand ship, we shared the package that we received with each other. Each individual calls dibs on certain items, such as gum or Slim-Jims or toothpaste, and we open it up together, read the letters aloud, and come together as a more cohesive unit, through the package that you provided.

“Throughout my career, it is these individual acts that mean the most and from ship to ship, I personally have kept the letters and lined my workspace with it. Everyone is different in how they show their appreciation, but there is not a single person onboard this ship that does not love receiving a gift box. Thank you in your service to us and we thank you for what you have done for us.”

This group of Navy men and women are just a small number of those who receive gift boxes from Operation Care Package or other organizations. They team up with local churches, schools, other organizations and even individuals who want to be a part of sharing their patriotism and love.

After Holy Family Parish shared the email with their own parishioners, there was tons of positive feedback from everyone, Thompson said. Some even remarked that the letter brought tears to their eyes knowing that they had even a small part in helping.

“It is such a joy to participate in their happiness,” Thompson said. “The picture is worth a thousand words.”

• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and issues in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at writestuff56@comcast.net.

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