Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Steamboat Springs As Veterans Day approaches Friday, local organizers of Support the Troops again are mobilizing to send care packages to military members stationed overseas.
“It’s still something that’s really important,” Steamboat Springs resident Marci Valicenti said. “They are still over there, they are away from their families and are serving our country.”
Valicenti and fellow real estate agent Molly Hibbard started the local care package program in 2003. Hibbard’s son, Wesley Mottlau, was being deployed with the Army for the first time that year, and Valicenti, her husband and their two children recently had returned from an emotional trip to New York City to visit Ground Zero.
“I just felt it was something I personally needed to see and felt that my children needed to see,” Valicenti recalled Tuesday.
Nine years later, the two women continue to provide a way for the community to show their support for the troops. Last year was a big year, with 25 packages — each weighing between 40 and 50 pounds — being shippped to servicemen and servicewomen, Valicenti said.
Raising money is a critical part of the program, Valicenti said, but they also need the names and addresses of local troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. People can provide names by emailing Hibbard at email@example.com or Valicenti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People interested in donating money or care package items can drop them off at the Prudential Steamboat Realty office in Wildhorse Marketplace or at High Mountain Sotheby’s International Realty at 708 Lincoln Ave.
Support the Troops is run under the umbrella of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, so donations also may be made online at www.yvcf.org.
Valicenti said the care packages include simple, everyday items that are hard to find in war zones, such as powders, disinfecting wipes and gels. Items such as candy canes, canned chips, magazines and Christmas decorations are meant to lift spirits.
Mottlau currently is serving in Afghanistan and recently emailed his mom a wish list from fellow troops that includes Christmas lights, cookies, candy, fleece hats and pants and socks.
“They don't have to be SmartWool, just some warm socks,” Mottlau wrote.
How to help
Send service members the small items they crave.
■ Wish list
CDs and DVDs
Pressurized air and screen wipes for electronics
Hand sanitizer, sunscreen, lip balm
Prepaid phone cards
Personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, soap and razors
Handheld electronic games
Letters from children
■ Dry, nonperishable food items
No alcohol or liquids, with the exception of pancake syrup
Individually wrapped cookies
Candy, nuts and mints
Serving-sized packages of chips and crackers
Sweetened dry drink mixes
Flavored coffee and hot cocoa packets
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com