Since several of our local soldiers won’t be home to open presents this holiday season, “Support Siouxland Soldiers” came together today to make care packages in an attempt to send a little piece of home to those fighting for our country.
Its an effort that Sioux Citian Alex Guggenmos thinks in necessary.
“It makes them feel like they’re at home because they get items that they probably have at they’re house like we’ve been sending granola bars and fruit snacks and stuff like that. ”
The packages are packed full with everything from everyday necessities to pictures and holiday cards.
Some big guys with some big hearts are working to do just that.
Rugby teams from all over the Siouxland area stopped in Sioux City today for some friendly matches and to raise money for Siouxland soldiers.
A cause near and dear to the Siouxland Swine as one of their own was recently deployed to Afghanistan.
The players of the Siouxland Swine rugby team can definitely stand the intensity of a match, but what about the pain?
“It wears off after a couple of days.”
Pain aside, there’s a reason these guys are pouring their heart and soul into every play.
“This is kind of a, more than special occasion for us this year because one of our players just got sent over to Afghanistan– just in the last month.” Says John Singer, VP of the Siouxland Swine.
The siouxland swine rugby team has held fundraising tournaments to benefit “support siouxland soldiers” in the past.
They never thought their efforts would benefit one of their own.
“It’s kind of one of those things, you never think it will happen to you.” Says Singer.
“Kevin Heineman, he’s a sergeant with the police department I believe and he got shipped off just a couple weeks ago, so we wanted to make it even more of a big event because it hit home a little bit.” Says Vern Helt with the Siouxland Swine.
Rugby isn’t a hugely popular sport in the area, but when a fellow rugger is going through a hard time, the comradery is there.
“They’re all supporting our country and they’re over there and everybody’s families are stuck here so I mean anything we can do and all pitch in to help out I definitely think we should do it. Sioux City has a rugger right now over in Afghanistan so I definitely feel that everybody came together in a group effort.” Says Rocky Welker, a former player for the Swine and current member of the University of South Dakota Rugby team.
Keeping their fellow rugger in mind, the Swine made it into the championship game. It’s a feet anyone can be proud of– but especially their teammate.
“He’s just proud of us and we gave him one of our jersey’s before he left and he said he’d wear it proud over there so now we’ve got a jersey overseas.” Says Helt.
the Siouxland Swine Rugby Tournament raised double what it made last year– they’re expecting to donate upwards of $3,000 to support Siouxland Soldiers.
Deb Jernberg, says although they meet every other month to send these care-packages this month is extra special for her.
Monday is her son’s 21st birthday and his one year deployment date.
Although she won’t be able to celebrate with him, she managed to get a hold of his box and slip in a few baby pictures, notes from his nephews and a few extra supplies to help make his twenty first birthday special.
“We love him, we miss him, and we are very proud of him, and he’ll be embarrassed. But we are, we’re very proud of him, we want what’s best…you always want what’s best for your kids.” said Jernberg referring to her son Kyle.
The Support Siouxland Soldiers organization plans to triple the amount of boxes they send out when they meet next around September 11-th for Patriot’s Day.
That’s because it’s going overseas, to sons and daughters called to duty for the love of their country.
Support Siouxland Soldiers is at it again, packing up a little bit of love, for soldiers, fighting in the line of fire.
They’re the sights and sounds of support.
The Sioux City based group, Support Siouxland Soldiers is packing up these boxes with necessities, and sweets for Valentines Day.
The group puts together packages for almost every holiday, but this is Anita Collier’s first package.
Her son just landed in Kuwait yesterday.
Dawn Breece’s son caleb is also taking his turn overseas, he’s being deployed for a year.
“When I found out about this I was excited because there are so few things we can do for military, and since my son is in the army and he’s stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, I want to get involved and not only send things to him, but support the other soldiers,” says Breece.
Dawn says support by way of sweets, is the least they can do for the military men and women serving our country.
That’s why many of these family members are taking an hour out of their Saturday for packing for their soldiers, to make at least one day away from home a little easier.
Support Siouxland Soldiers wrapped up more than 50 boxes to be sent overseas within the next week.
Channel 9 KCAU-TV is a proud sponsor of Support Siouxland Soldiers.
They’ve boxed and shipped hundreds of care packages, but Support Siouxland Soldiers is about more than just a present in the mail. It’s a group that has turned to each other for help when their spouse, parent or friend has gone overseas.
“They’re opening their packages and sharing items. If someone needs a toothbrush, they’re like throwing it across the room, saying ‘here take a toothbrush,'”
Sandy Fleck joined the group because she wanted to find a way to help her son Tanner, but it’s now the fun she has during the get togethers that keeps her going.
“Oh, everybody is in a great mood. We’re hustling and bustling. You can put in all their favorite things. If you want to put in a box of beef jerky, because that’s their favorite, then perfect.”
Many of the soldiers, including Shawn and Tanner, are back from the middle east. As a result, Support Siouxland Soldiers is refocusing its purpose. The group will still make care packages every other month, but their goal is to offer fun activities for military families.
For more on that, log onto their web site at supportsiouxland soldiers.com.
Support Siouxland Soldiers held a drive today at the Southern Hills Hy-Vee. They collected hygiene products, food and other goods from Hy-Vee shoppers.
A lot of the soldiers will be coming home in July, so, in honor of Armed Forces Day today, Support Siouxland Soldiers decided to end their stint with a bang.
Brittany Dekker of Support Siouxland Soldiers said, “It’s been awesome, we have an entire car load of stuff so a lot of people have come out and shown their support for these men and women that are deployed, it really means a lot to us.”
Starting at 6:30pm on June 2nd, the group will be packaging the donations at the Armory by the Sioux Gateway Airport and then sending them out.
Anybody is welcome to come and help. You can also specialize a package for a particular soldier.
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Support Siouxland Soldiers is a community non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to support members of the Armed Forces, past and present, their families and the Siouxland community. The primary means of our mission is to send packages to deployed military personnel, host family-friendly monthly events and by partnering with Siouxland businesses, schools, churches and organizations to bring support to the four thousand – plus members of the Armed Forces and military families of the Siouxland area.
Increasing the morale of the troops during deployment by sending Care-Packages is the core and origin of Support Siouxland Soldiers mission. We’ve organized “Care Pack” events every other month since 2007 and to date have sent over four thousand care-packages. This is made possible through partnerships with community businesses, organizations, churches and schools that help us provide snack and hygiene items which are included in the care – packages, as well as providing all of the materials and postage for shipping . We ship care – packages to all branches of the Armed Forces and invite families to customize care-packages for their specific service member.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) May 2009 – It’s a special treat for Siouxland soldiers coming from some of their youngest supporters.
Friday, Sioux City’s Unity Elementary hosted a special assembly to present the non-profit organization “Support Siouxland Soldiers” with items to be packed in the Armed Forces Day care-packages.
Special guests included those from the 1-113th Cavalry.
Organizers say it’s a great opportunity for kids to get involved with those serving their country. “And we use those donations to pack boxes for deployed military personnel,” said Sandy Fleck, Support Siouxland Soldiers.
Saturday is Armed Forces Day, and donation boxes will be packed at the Sioux City “Tires Tires Tires” location on Gordon Drive, from ten and two. Volunteers, and donations, are welcome.