Dear Editor,

In 2009, I was deployed to the Contingency Operating Base (COB) Adder - Tall, Iraq. I was there until January 27, 2010. Unfortunately, many of us missed the holidays with our loved ones but we made the best of it. The holidays are always difficult when we can't be home with our families and friends. But thanks to numerous organizations and generously supportive individuals we received an abundance of care packages and thank-you letters and cards. Our favorites were the cards and letters from elementary and middle school kids. Young people who didn't even know us took the time to write these kind letters of appreciation, some of which were very creative.

Upon returning home, I became the commander of the Coaldale VFW. So far our club has done many things to support different charities and other nonprofit organizations but we want to do more for our retired veterans and current service men and women. If anyone would like to help us show support to currently deployed members of todays military, the Coaldale VFW Post 6982 is accepting nonperishable items such as toiletries, personal hygiene items, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wash cloths, candies (no chocolate), and other snacks along with books, magazines, and puzzle/activity booklets. Of course letters and cards of appreciation are also welcome. All items will be equally divided into care packages and mailed to these honorable men and women overseas. Donations can be dropped off at the Coaldale VFW, 1 East Ridge St., Coaldale PA 18218 anytime after 7 p.m. Thank you so much!

Respectfully,

SSG Stephannie Richards

PA Army National Guard & Coaldale VFW Commander