Push is on to support troops overseas
SUMMIT COUNTY – This holiday season it will be easier than ever to support Summit County soldiers stationed overseas.For the third year in a row, Blue River residents Walt and Sue Mueller are heading up the collection of dried goods and personal hygiene products to send overseas to Summit County soldiers and their platoons, and this year local grocery stores are lending a hand.Starting Nov. 17, boxes where donations can be left will be set up at City Market stores in Breckenridge and Dillon and at Safeway in Frisco. Also, shoppers can stop by the customer service desks to get a shopping list that lays out exactly where each item is located in the store, Walt Mueller said.
Mueller and Summit County Rotary vice president Paul Siegert asked the grocery stores for assistance because about 80 percent of what makes up the packages can be purchased at the stores.”Both stores at City Market and Safeway said ‘Come on.’ … They’ve been really great about it,” Mueller said.Mueller is collecting canned and dried foods, batteries, Chapstick, notebooks, gum and candy, cough drops and duct tape – small, but significant items that soldiers don’t have access to in Iraq. His goal is to package everything up and have the boxes in the mail during the week of Dec. 4, so that they’ll arrive in Iraq by Christmas.
Boxes will go to the platoons of Lance Cpl. Sean McCleneghan, Staff Sgt. Richard Watson, Spc. Colin Knight – all of whom are from Summit County – and a sergeant major who is the nephew of a Summit County resident.Mueller hopes to gather enough items to fill 10 boxes for each platoon, the most he’s ever sent at one time during his two-year endeavor.”The last two years, we’ve probably raised about $8,000 and we’ve got over 200 packages that we’ve sent – it adds up,” Mueller said.
The Muellers began their efforts during the 2004 holiday season when they decided that instead of buying gifts for each other, they would purchase simple, but greatly appreciated items for locals stationed abroad.The Summit County Rotary Club soon joined the effort and has helped with fundraising and organization. So far, the program has supported nine locals and their platoons in the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marines, the Navy Seals, the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division and the U.S. Air Force. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO