May 20, 2004

From DefenseLINK News

Shop Owner Turns Bad Luck into Good Luck for Troops:

When tragedy struck Ruth Ann Young of Kirkland, WA, during the summer of 2003, she turned her bad luck into good luck for more than 6,000 service members on the battlefields of Iraq.
On Father's Day, June 15, 2003, fire ravaged a business next door to Young's 'Spirit of Christmas' store and caused substantial smoke damage to her little shop. Young owns and operates a year-round shop devoted to selling Christmas items. Smoke damage to her merchandise was so bad that she wasn't able to open her shop for the rest of that year.

Ruth Ann Young holds a "daddy pillow" from "Operation Kid Comfort" Her husband, Robert Young, hold the plaque she won for creating "Operation Iraq: Spirit of Christmas"

Though she was deeply saddened, she wanted to do something positive in the community in which she and her husband had lived for eight years.
"I wanted to touch the hearts of my service people overseas, and that's what I chose to do," said Young.

Telling everybody she wanted to send at least 1,000 Christmas boxes to soldiers in Iraq; she secretly set her goal at 5,000 boxes. And to her delight, she got a lot more: reading material, compact discs, lip balm, beef jerky, peanuts, trail mix, eye drops, "And," she asked with a laugh, "would you believe 30,000 bags of apple chips?"
More than $200,000 in merchandise was donated, and nearly 21,000 volunteer hours were logged in support of the project.
Young's only request was that the boxes go to the service members on the front lines. She wanted commanders to ensure that everyone who didn't get anything for Christmas received a gift.
After getting thousands of boxes of gifts for the troops ready, "How do I get them there?" was the daunting question Young asked herself.

"Them" was more than 6,000 boxes weighing more than 6 pounds each; "there" was more than 1,800 miles from Kirkland to the Junction City KS Family YMCA that serves Fort Riley, KS.
A local gentleman named John Trygg, who owns Konza Construction in Junction City, provided trucks to go to Kirkland to transport the items.
Reportedly, soldiers and several generals unloaded the big rigs in just an hour and 20 minutes. They then loaded the boxes onto pallets, wrapped them and put them on an Air Force cargo plane headed for Iraq.

Making their lives a little easier Posted by Hello

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