Fort Bragg volunteers pack Super Bowl care packages for Soldiers
February 5, 2010
By Tina Ray
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, Feb. 5, 2010) -- Soldiers, Sailors, family members and United Service Organization volunteers gathered at Pope Air Force Base, Feb. 3, to prepare Super Bowl-themed care packages for service members deployed as part of Joint Task Force-Haiti.
More than 60 participants gathered to assemble the packages, which contained such items as chips and salsa, drinks, peanut butter crackers, apples and bananas. Walmart and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service donated some of the goods.
Pvt. Michael Norfleet II, was among those who helped prepare the packages. As a one-time recipient of care packages himself, while deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said he knows the impact they can have.
"I was happy to get something to break the monotony of the day-to-day," he said.
A member of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, Norfleet said that he hopes the packages will bring to those deployed some of the comforts enjoyed every day by Soldiers who stayed behind.
"We're right here with our cush life and they're deployed somewhere, sucking, and I hope this can help them feel closer to home," said Norfleet, a Baltimore native who has been in the Army almost four years now.
With a baby due any day, Vicky Brautigam also helped prepare Super Bowl care packages.
An Army wife, Brautigam said that husband, Capt. Christopher Brautigam, a public affairs officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, has been in Haiti nearly three weeks. He'll likely be a recipient of one of the packages.
Vicky said that sending the care packages would convey a good message to the troops.
"Every little bit helps," she said. "It lets you know that people are thinking about you."
Meghan McCoy serves as a Family Readiness Program leader for HHC. She said she emailed about 20 families requesting help with the packages. With 7-month-old daughter, Stella, strapped to her stomach, McCoy packed chips in assembly-line fashion and speculated about reactions to the packages.
"I think they'll be excited," McCoy said. "They're not MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat). It's something new to eat."
Teamwork was essential to getting the Super Bowl care packages mission accomplished and to helping to bring comfort to the men and women in uniform who deployed on short notice, said John Falkenbury, USO of North Carolina president.
"It's the least that the USO of North Carolina can do to help the Soldiers who are in uniform," said Falkenbury.
The USO of North Carolina has more than 700 volunteers who help take care of North Carolina servicemembers.
Teresa Sicinski, wife of Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg garrison commander, also participated in the volunteer effort. As a retired Army warrant officer who was assigned to Korea and Germany during her more than 20-year military career, Teresa said she knows the Soldiers would appreciate receiving the packages.
"It's like Christmas when you are opening a package because you have no idea what the person is sending," Sicinski said. "I know they are going to enjoy it."
(Tina Ray writes for the Paraglide Newspaper at Fort Bragg, N.C.)