Rolling into Deep River on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 13, all that could be seen were a few porch and streets lights that dotted the small eastern Poweshiek County community.
Across the street from the hardware store, the lights were glowing bright from the Deep River American Legion Post 296 Building. Inside, employees with the local branch of County Bank and members of the Legion Auxiliary were volunteering their time to make care packages for active military from the area.
This is the second year that County Bank has partnered with the American Legion Auxiliary on this project. The Auxiliary sends care packages out twice each year.
“We were able to package and ship 19 large flat rate boxes packed full of an amazing variety of items,” noted Jacki Bolen, Unit 296 president and District 5, Department of Iowa Vice President. “People shop specifically for this project and generously give bags full (of items) to help us stuff the boxes to the max. We were even able to send homemade monster cookies that baker, Jeanne Talley, calls her military monsters.”
According to Bolen, County Bank, American Legion Post 296 and many locals gave monetary donations to cover the nearly $400 shipping costs to send out the care packages. All leftover items will be delivered to the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.
County bank employees helping included: Kathy Grier, Traci Gregory and Bridget Miller.
The care packages, which are sent to area soldiers overseas and abroad, were filled with puzzle books, personal hygiene items such as toothpaste and brushes, shampoo, deodorant, tissues, baby wipes, powder and socks. Other items included note pads, pens, playing cards, Chapstick and chewing gum. Non-perishable food items such as hot cocoa mix, crackers, cookies, candy and mixed nuts were also included in the packages.
“I went through four deployments with my son and husband,” said Auxiliary member Brenda Lyddon. “They (the soldiers) are excited when people would send them care packages. It makes a difference.”
“We thought this would be a great group to partner with for a wonderful cause,” noted a bank spokesperson. “We were honored to be able to help collect donations and pack boxes to send out for the holiday.”
“This project is bigger than the Auxiliary,” added Bolen. “This is a gathering of true patriots reminding our military that we know where they are and we support them. Our next shipment will be in the spring of 2021. For now, Merry Christmas to our men and women making the sacrifices for us all.”