By AMY GUCKEEN TOLSON, Redstone RocketJanuary 6, 2012
Thanks to the employees of the Army Contracting Command's Missile Logistic Division, Soldiers serving in Afghanistan felt the Christmas spirit miles away from home.
"Everybody wants to do something for the Soldiers to make sure they're not forgotten when they're over there at Christmas," said Kimberley Payne, whose husband is deployed in Afghanistan.
Employees of the division mailed care packages to Afghanistan in December to bring a little joy to Soldiers that couldn't be with their families over the holiday season.
Brainstormed by Mary Baites, Payne's trainer and mentor, it didn't take long for the rest of the division to pitch in after hearing about the idea to send a little love to the Soldiers for Christmas. Payne solicited ideas of what to send from her husband, comforts of home taken for granted by those living stateside. Each member of the division worked to fulfill that wish list and help with shipping costs.
"When doing something for anyone, no matter how big or small, as long as you're giving from the heart, the receiver will be appreciative," said Carrie Samuels, who spearheaded the project.
"For the troops, for all that they do for us, things that we will never know, as the spouse of a retired CSM, I know what they go through when they're away from their families. What we just did for them was just to open our hearts to say thanks. It was simple."
Packages were sent to Payne's husband, Col. Thomas Payne, director, ASA (ALT) Operations (OEF), who has been deployed to Bagram since July. Three large, heavy boxes filled with everyday items, such as powdered drink mix, Christmas decorations, sheets, pillowcases, snacks, chapstick, magazines and more were shipped Dec. 8 to make it to the troops in time for Christmas.
While the employees of the Army Contracting Center's Missile Logistics Division work to help the Soldiers each day, the care package outreach was a different type of service.
"What we do on our job on a day-to-day basis is because the Soldiers serve," Samuels said.
"Freedom isn't free. People take for granted that we have these jobs here on the Arsenal and wake up in our warm beds. The things that the troops go through when they're away from home, being in a foreign place, fighting a war, some understand, some don't. Just a little touch, something, anything, the simplest thing can warm a Soldier's heart. You don't always get to see the face that you buy the equipment for, the purchases and everything that you make in the contracting field -- it was a way to put a face on what we do on a day- to-day basis."