Arlington woman sending care packages to troops for next two years
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:10 PM
ARLINGTON Arlington resident Suzie Carter will send care packages to American troops in Iraq for the next two years, because thats how long her nephew will be stationed there.
Army 1st Lt. Colin LeBeau deployed with the 3rd Battalion Strike Brigade April 10, and has informed his aunt that hes lost three soldiers under his command since then. LeBeaus deployment in Iraq is expected to last approximately 600 days. Carter said shes been moved by his e-mail accounts of how much he and his troops have already dealt with.
Its sobering to me that theyre already used to mortar attacks and rocks going by, Carter said. He met an Iraqi man who sent his family to Syria so they would be safe. Colin worked to get this assignment. I asked him if he had a death wish, but he said he had to go where he belonged.
Inspired by her nephews e-mails, Carter sought to supply him and his troops with both necessities and conveniences, from snack food and recreational items to toiletries and clothing.
Ive sent off 37 boxes in the last two weeks, Carter said. The post office has been very generous about supplying assistance and flat-rate boxes. Each box still requires a 10-page customs form to be filled out, but theres no getting around that.
Carter explained that LeBeau questions detainees and took pride in the fact that he recently sent a big-time terrorist off to jail. She believes that other people need to thank American military members, as well.
You may not like the war, but you should still support our men and women who are over there, said Carter, who sees her care packages as one way of doing that. She singled out stores such as Staples and Costco for being especially helpful to her efforts.
All food items sent to service members must be prepackaged and separately sealed. Food items that might leak, and all liquid items, should be placed in zip-up plastic bags, and bottle tops should be taped to make them more secure. Care packages should not include pork, pork products, alcohol or pornography. You should also not send pressurized items, since they may explode in transit, or products in glass containers. Do not send chocolate to the Middle East in the summer.
All troop mail should be sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Their Web site at http://www.usps.com includes more detailed information on sending mail to the troops. The Department of Defense does not accept mail addressed to any Service member.
Carter is still looking for donors, both among individuals and groups, as well as local businesses who would be willing to host collection boxes for care package supplies. You may contact her at 425-315-5709.