- Tax-deductible donations can be made online to the Support the Troops fund by visiting the Yampa Valley Community Foundation Web site at www.yvcf.org or by mailing to the YVCF at P.O. Box 881869, Steamboat Springs, CO 80488. Write "Support the Troops" on the memo line.
- Tangible/monetary gifts can be dropped off at Steamboat Real Estate, 635 Yampa St., or at Prudential Steamboat Realty at Wildhorse Plaza or the MDM Group on Elk River Road.
- Hibbard/Valicenti are requesting any addresses of those serving in the military in Iraq/Afghanistan so that they can be sent a care package. They do not have to be Routt County residents. Addresses can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Those interested in donating to the cause in Hayden can find a list of requested items at the Routt County Extension Office, Mountain Valley Bank, First National Bank of the Rockies and RedClay. RedClay also is a drop-off point. For more information, call Laurie Hallenbeck at 276-4152.
Steamboat Springs Carol Ward's son will spend this winter sleeping in a tent in the snowy mountains of Afghanistan.
But Daniel Ward, who is about to be promoted to Army staff sergeant, doesn't complain, his mother said. The soldier is on his third tour, also having spent time in Korea and Iraq.
"He would never express anything to me other than an upbeat conversation; he just wouldn't," she said, "and he's really proud of what they're doing over there."
Routt County groups are collecting money and products to help Ward and other local members of the military serving abroad. Support the Troops, a nonprofit group that works under the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, has been sending care packages for six years. In Hayden, a group of women is preparing its third shipment of boxes for troops. Support the Troops would like to receive donations by Tuesday and Wednesday; the Hayden group would like them by Monday.
Carol Ward's son, who has received boxes from Support the Troops, said he appreciated the packages and shared items with his fellow troops. His group has no access to civilian or military shops, Ward said.
"Their conditions are so primitive, and they're in such remote areas, it's actually pretty unbelievable," she said.
Troops need personal care items including deodorant, socks and soap, Ward said. She suggested that those interested can help donate warm winter clothing. Troops also would like snacks, DVDs, CDs, computer games, small electronic games and magazines, Ward said.
This year, Support the Troops is accepting new and used items that are in good shape, said Marci Valicenti, who co-founded the group with Molly Hibbard.
"We never thought that when we started doing this six years ago, we'd be doing this six years later," Valicenti said. "We've been a staple, and we'll do it until we're out of there."
In Hayden, Laurie Hallenbeck is leading the care package project. The Routt County CattleWomen, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars also are helping.
The group has been in contact with Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch, who is serving in Iraq with the Air Force Reserves. He has asked for a few items, including school supplies for children, Hallenbeck said.
"The phone cards are a big thing right now; Ray Birch has requested that," she said. "A lot of guys don't have the ability to call home, and the phone cards help."
Hibbard, whose son, Wesley Mottlau, will be deployed to Afghanistan in January, suggested that people donate items such as shampoo and lotion for the dry weather. Troops also would like candy, canned goods, coffee and creamer, Hibbard said.
Valicenti, Hibbard and Hallenbeck stressed that they are willing to add names to their lists. The troops need not be Routt County residents, and the women requested that people pass along addresses of others who are fighting abroad.
Even small donations mean a lot, Support the Troops leaders said.
"I would like to really thank the community for whatever support they give to these guys," said Ward, who isn't sure when her son will return. "It's really appreciated, and if they don't get a 'thank you' back from them, it's because they are working seven days a week without any break whatsoever, and they work 12-, 14-, 16-, 24-hour days. I have not gotten a single actual letter because he has no time. It's just go, go, go, go, go."