Friday, May 28, 2004
Operation Shoebox: One year later
In May 2003, the Mosquito reported on David Driscoll of Fiske Street and his involvement with a project called Operation Shoebox. The project encourages concerned civilians to send CARE packages to troops stationed overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier this month, Driscoll reported on what's new with Operation Shoebox in the past twelve months.
"The effort continues," he says. "So far, about 14,000 CARE packages have been sent under the auspices of Operation Shoebox, and if you look at the site's guest book, you'll see thousands of entries from people who have sent things. You can also go to the site to see copies of thank you notes that some of the troops have sent back."
Driscoll urges citizens not to slack off in their concern for the soldiers. As he explained last year, almost anything makes a good inclusion in a shoebox: from candy and dried soup mix to playing cards and magazines. "Cards and letters are nice, too. Anything you can send is well-received and quite appreciated. Something like the recent scandals (regarding treatment of Iraqi prisoners) can really hurt morale among American troops. A CARE package or even just a letter reminds the soldiers that our thoughts are with them."
Driscoll, who is the designer for Operation Shoebox's web site, points out that as military operations stretch into another year, the first round of troops have been replaced, so a whole new group of men and women is eager to hear from those back home. For those who want a way to help other than packing up a box of goodies, he says, "Operation Shoebox has officially become a nonprofit entity, and it is now possible to make a financial contribution through the web site."
On a personal note, Driscoll is happy to report that his brother has returned to the U.S. after a year-long tour of duty as a medivac pilot. Additionally, each of the soldier children of Mary Harper, who founded the Operation Shoebox project and inspired Driscoll to take on web site maintenance for it, has safely returned home at this point. Meanwhile, Driscoll and his wife Joanne have found yet another way to show their solidarity with American service people: they travel frequently to Bangor, Maine, to greet troops returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. "Many of the military planes bringing soldiers home stop in Bangor to refuel," he says. "The citizens of Bangor have made a commitment to ensure that every single plane is met and greeted. So we go up there sometimes just to shake hands with the returning soldiers."
Visit OperationShoebox.com to find out how you can send a package to someone stationed overseas, or make a financial contribution to the effort. "This is a long-term project that won't be over for quite a while," Driscoll points out. "As long as military actions are under way there, troops need to know that they are missed and appreciated."
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito