CLAY COUNTY-Celina native and 2009 Clay County High School graduate WIlliam Bailey, who is currently on deployment with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan recently asked his mother here to send him something from home.
A soldier’s request for his family to keep in touch through the mail is not out of he ordinary, but the selflessness of PFC Bailey’s plea was anything but the norm.
The 23-year-old didn’t ask for anything for himself, not only because it wasn’t necessary since his mother Susan, his father Kenneth (Doc), his twin brother David, and others have sent him care packages almost daily since he left the mainland back in February, but also because he watched as his fellow members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team known as the “Red Devils” continued to be disappointed at mail call.
“We’ve sent him care packages of food, movies, games, and other stuff weekly since he left,” Susan said, “and I found out WIlliam had been sharing his with everybody else.
“One time I talked to him and he said, ‘mom, can you start sending packages to some other guys instead of me… these guys would really be excited to get a package,’ because they weren’t getting anything.
“He said he was the only one there not asking ‘is there mail today,’ and that was hard to hear.”
Since her son’s humbling request, Susan, along with the help of her family, has begun a campaign to be sure those soldiers never went without again, and up until recently, the Bailey family had undertaken the mission alone.
Recently Susan started receiving support and assistance from area churches and businesses and she has now taken the effort community-wide with donation boxes and collection cans in hopes of garnering the entire community’s support.
“Anything sent is uplifting and motivational for these soldiers when they are away from home,” she said. “They have their lives at risk everyday, they live in twos in very small rooms with plywood walls in hostile territory, they have no entertainment other than what is sent to them, and they appreciate anything they get.”
The Baileys have set up “bright green” collection boxes and donation cans at local grocery stores and other businesses to make it convenient for the public to help.
“The next time you’re at the store, add an item to your checkout and drop it in the box or put your change in the cans,” she said. “They will appreciate it more than you can imagine.”
Bailey said it costs a little over $15 in postage to send a large package to a soldier and explained it took anywhere from 14 to 30 days for them to arrive in Afghanistan.
“We are asking for items to go in the packages and for donations to go towards the postage,” she said. “Those guys who don’t get them will be surprised when they do, but I will, however, continue to provide for my son myself, because that is something I started a long time ago and plan to continue.
“Any donations from the public will be recorded for public consumption and will go to the guys William has identified.”
Bailey said the list currently includes seven names from her son’s platoon–SGT Kyle Chuckran, PFC Zachary Nisson, SPC Jose Gonzalez, SPC Mark Menapace, Sean Davila, Joshua Bonavita, and Daniel West, but explained it could include more in the near future.
“These men are from all over the country and based at Fort Bragg, NC,” she said. “We expect the list to grow and that’s why we are asking for help.”
Items requested by soldiers can include clothing, cleaning supplies, food, snacks, batteries, toiletries, magazines, books, and much more. See a complete list below.
For more information about the Baileys’ effort or to add a soldier’s name to the mailing list, call 931-260-8320 or 931-243-3661.
SUGGESTED ITEMS: FEEL FREE TO ADD OTHERs
•Good Socks white, green or black / Boot Liners / Head Lamp / Flashlights / Pipe Cleaners / Gun Cleaning Supplies Oils, Q-tips Militec-1 & CLP, etc / Batteries – all sizes but especially AA & AAA / battery alarm clock / / Fleece/Wool Blankets / Hanging Hooks / Multi tools / pocket knives / non aerosol cleaners / rags / bungie cords / Tide Pods / Dryer Sheets / Dry Skin Care Products / Mole Skin / black or green head beanies / hand/foot warmers / gloves without fingers / Air Fresheners (the rooms stink)/ adhesive wall hooks / wall screws/ small tool kits/ rubber gloves/sponges/ unused rags/ Dust masks/ bandanas /carpentry tools/ Fly swatters/ fly paper/ mosquito netting/ bug repellent in plastic pump bottles/ individual Kleenex packets / Knitted scarves and hats – Winter is COLD – might be worn in the rooms but not out and will however be appreciated and cherished long after deployment is over. Anything personal will be a Blessing!!
•Microwaveable foods: (I have already sent can openers) (BEST is complex Carbs/Proteins/Fats) Easy Mac / Packages requiring “add water” only/ Meat Meals in a package / Drink Mixes –Crystal Lite, mio, milk, etc. powdered or liquid (their water has an odor and bad taste) / Sport Drink Powder / Chocolate Drink (Yoo Hoo, Nestle, etc. vanilla milk in a jar) they have no milk / Fruit Juices / Canned/Package Meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, tuna, salmon, etc.) / Cookies, Oreos / Pop Tarts / Pringles, Chips in containers / Fruit (canned, dried) / Hard Candies (unmeltable) Used also for packing to fill empty spaces / individual cereal boxes/ Popcorn packets/Sunflower Seeds / any Nuts / Chow Mein Noodles / Beef Jerky (Teriyaki, peppered, flavored) / Trail Mix / Peanut Butter / Oat packages. UNMELTABLE, NON-PERISHABLE, NO PORK. They have a microwave, no refrigeration
•Good Socks white, green or black / Boot Liners / Head Lamp / Flashlights / Pipe Cleaners / Gun Cleaning Supplies Oils, Q-tips (Militec-1 & CLP)/ Batteries – all sizes but especially AA & AAA / battery alarm clock / Fleece&Wool Blankets / Hanging Hooks / Multi tools / pocket knives / non aerosol cleaners / rags / bungie cords / Tide Pods / Dryer Sheets / Dry Skin Care Products / Mole Skin / black or green head beanies / hand/foot warmers / gloves without fingers / Stick up Air Fresheners (the rooms stink)/ adhesive wall hooks / wall screws/ small tool kits/ rubber gloves/sponges/ unused rags/ Dust masks/ bandanas /carpentry tools/ Fly swatters/ fly paper/ mosquito netting/ bug repellent in plastic pump bottles/ individual Kleenex packets / Knitted scarves and hats – Winter is COLD – might be worn in the rooms but not out and will however be appreciated and cherished long after deployment is over. Anything personal will be a Blessing!! Non-aerosol or combustible
•Wet Wipes ( shower in a box) / Tylenol / Ibuprofen / Allergy Medicine / Vitamins / Sunblock / Cotton Swabs / Shave Lotion (not cream) / Foot Powder & Foot Care Products/ Chapstick / Contact Cleaning Solution / EYE DROPS & Lotions( very dry and dusty in Afghanistan) / Body Spray (they stink) / Dry Shampoo / Men’s magazines & Books / Deodorant / Mach Razors & Blades / More Wet Wipes (to shower with) / Crosswords / SUDOKU / Puzzles / Games & Board Games / Word Search / Cards / For the Afghan Kids while they are out on patrol –small toys, pens & Pencils & notepads & Beanie Babies (easy to stuff in their uniform pockets and have ready) / laptop and DVD cleaning supplies Patriotic knick-knacks, USA flags, flags from your state, bandanas, baseball hats, football jerseys, banners to tack on their walls or tents.
•ANYTHING PERSONAL FROM TENNESSEE OR CLAY COUNTY!!
•All bases are a little different, these items pertain to FOB Ghazni.