Barry and Lawrence county area residents donated over 400 shoeboxes for this year's Shoeboxes for Soldiers Christmas campaign. The local effort is orchestrated by a retired first sergeant from the Barry County area, who is passionate about this project but wishes to remain anonymous.
According to this gentleman, numerous volunteers gathered for a packout day held last week in Rogersville. The group spent several hours checking, packing and labeling all the boxes for delivery to the post office. The effort was spearheaded regionally by KTTS 94.7 FM and Family Pharmacies.
"I can tell you that there is nothing better than getting mail while in combat and even more special is to know that perfect strangers appreciate the sacrifices that they are making to protect their freedom," said the retired sergeant.
Each package mailed to a soldier included a letter from Alvin Schad, a former POW from Monett, along with notes written by children and families who donated boxes.
On the local level, the Shoeboxes for Soldiers effort was supported by The Bayou, the National Guard armories in Monett and Pierce City, First State Bank, the Monett FFA Chapter, The Monett Times, UMB Bank and Walmart.
The 2011 Christmas drive resulted in between 800 and 1,000 packages sent to soldiers. Shoeboxes are collected twice yearly for Christmas and the Fourth of July.
"Thanks to all those who got involved to show our fighting men and women that the nation cares, and more importantly, the Ozarks cares," the retired sergeant concluded.
For additional information about the Shoeboxes for Soldiers effort, visit www.shoeboxes4soldiers.com.