Women's association sends holiday care packages to troops
December 22, 2009
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - The holidays for many deployed Soldiers and Marines just got a little bit brighter, thanks to the efforts of volunteers from the North American Taiwanese Women's Association-Hawaii Chapter (NATWA-HI).
As part of the national organization's annual "Caring for Soldiers" project, six NATWA-HI volunteers paid a visit to the Fort Shafter Post Office, Dec. 8, to ensure the delivery of 11 care packages to troops overseas in time for Christmas.
"We chose to mail the boxes by today so that the troops would receive it by Christmas," said Julie Rohrer, president of NATWA-HI. "We think they'll like what's in them."
Five of the packages were mailed to Soldiers from the 130th Engineer Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, currently stationed in Iraq, while the other six were sent to Marines from the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, now serving in Afghanistan. The boxes contained more than $700 worth of items requested by service members online through the "www.anysoldier.com" program, according to Rohrer. The goodies included edible items such as cookies, candies and beef jerky, as well as non-edible items like mosquito repellent, body lotion and sunscreen.
Funding for the care packages was made possible through donations from the Taiwanese-American community in Hawaii and the North America Taiwanese Medical Association Foundation.
"These packages have things that the Soldiers and Marines specifically asked for," said volunteer Dr. Hwei-Shien Hahn, who previously worked in the Radiology Department at Tripler Army Medical Center before retiring in 2002. "So I'm sure they will appreciate these gifts."
Rohrer commended both the Soldiers and Marines for demonstrating bravery under adverse conditions. Her group's goal, she added, was to remind the deployed Soldiers that the Hawaii community continues to recognize their vigilant efforts on battlefields halfway across the world.
"Hopefully, the packages provide some sort of relief for them," said Rohrer, adding that each package contained a personal note thanking Soldiers and Marines "a thousand times over" for service to their country.
"They've sacrificed so much for us," she continued. "This is just a small way for us to show our appreciation, and tell them how fortunate we are to have them."
This was the second time in the past year that NATWA-HI has sent care packages to appreciative service members downrange. In February, the volunteers mailed similar items to Soldiers in time for Valentine's Day.
NATWA's "Caring for Soldiers" program began in 2005 as the brainchild of Vandy Chang, then president of the Kansas chapter. Since then, numerous care packages and letters have been sent to troops stationed in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, from NATWA chapters across the United States.