FORT RUCKER, Ala.--A small team of Fort Rucker Family members joined staff from the post's Mobilization and Deployment office Saturday to assemble more than 300 care packages in less than one hour at the post Spiritual Life Center.

To the casual observer, this was somewhat of an amazing feat but, for the handful of ladies in attendance at the event, many who consider themselves master care package builders, the day was just like any other in the life of a deployed Soldier's spouse.
"We send at least one package out every week," Candice Bellamy, whose husband is currently deployed to Iraq with B Company, 46th Engineer Battalion, said. "I've gotten pretty good at packing these things."

Saturday's "stuffing party" came at the conclusion of Operation Giveback, a care package assembly effort that focused on showing the post's hundreds of deployed Soldiers just how much the people of Fort Rucker and lower Alabama truly care about them.

"This is going to lift the morale of our troops out there because this shows them that not only is their unit supporting them but the installation and the entire community stands behind them too," Mobilization and Deployment Manager Curtis Williams said. "(Our deployed Soldiers' jobs) are not easy but I think this will put their minds at ease to know that there are great people back here supporting them and supporting their Families."

The care packages packed Saturday included a variety of personal hygiene items, coins from the chaplains, CDs and harmonicas. In addition, each package also contained a special holiday card or note created by area youth.

"We have cards from students at Fort Rucker Elementary, Mixon Elementary, the Enterprise High School French Club, the Keystone Club and listeners from WWNT (1450 AM) radio station," Relocation Readiness Program Manager Ruth Gonzalez said. "The whole community really came out to support the effort."

Valentina Corbett, 14, president of Fort Rucker's Keystone Club, said she felt it was important for her club to support Operation Giveback.

"Most of (the deployed Soldiers) don't get to hear from their Families every day and this just lets them know that we are thinking about them back here," she said.

In addition to the care packages that will soon be making their way to the post's deployed troops, banners, donated by the Sergeants Major Association and signed by hundreds of members of the local community, will be hand carried to Kuwait and Iraq to be displayed in the Tactical Operations Centers (TOCs) for B Co., 46th Eng. Bn. and the 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group.

The boxes full of care packages will be mailed out Nov. 13 to ensure they make it to Fort Rucker's deployed Soldiers in time for the holidays.

The postage for the more than one dozen boxes full of care packages will be paid for by the City of Andalusia.