Local officers shipping care packages to troops in Afghanistan
by Rachel Davis
May 28, 2012 | 1348 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Employees at the Jasper Police Department spent Friday packing care packages to send to troops stationed in a remote area in Afghanistan. The packages will be shipped out on Tuesday and should arrive in a few weeks. Photo by: Rachel Davis
Employees at the Jasper Police Department spent Friday packing care packages to send to troops stationed in a remote area in Afghanistan. The packages will be shipped out on Tuesday and should arrive in a few weeks. Photo by: Rachel Davis
slideshow
What do you take for granted that you would miss if you were stranded in the middle of the desert without access to a store?

That is the question that has been bouncing around the Jasper Police Department recently. Patrick Hambric approached Chief Connie Cooner Rowe about helping with care packages for a group of U.S. Army soldiers stationed in a remote area of Afghanistan.

The soldiers are with the 1st Brigade, 82 Airborne Division and have been stationed at the top of a mountain in the wilderness, away from any source of supplies. JPD is packing 50 care boxes with supplies for the soldiers. The main supplies they asked for were snacks and other basics, like chapstick and hygiene items.

“They want everyday things that we take for granted that they don’t have the opportunity to get,” Hambric said.

Rowe said she mentioned the idea to her staff, and they all jumped on board, donating supplies and money and recruiting donations from the community, too.

“I just mentioned it, and it flew through the building,” Rowe said.

Dr. Ray Cooner donated toothpaste and Dr. Myra Stafford donated the toothbrushes. Sons and Sav-a-lot both donated some nonperishable food items, and the Jasper officers donated money to buy other basic supplies.

“I was in shock at how quickly they were able to say ‘yes, we’ll help.’ I wasn’t expecting the quick turnaround,” Hambric said.

Rowe said many of the employees and officers at JPD are military or former military but all the employees were touched by the project.

“I think it’s good for us to stop and think that somewhere out there is someone making such a sacrifice,” Rowe said. “This is such a minor imposition for us, but it is so significant to them.”

The importance of the care packages was reinforced by Hambric, who was twice deployed.

“I can tell you from experience, when you’re down range and you get a package — it’s better than Christmas,” Hambric said.

The department plans to ship the boxes on Tuesday, but anyone who wants to make a last-minute donation can call JPD at 221-6790.