Lutz Patriots hope to send ‘tons of stuff’ to soldiers
By Kyle LoJacono
The Lutz Patriots are gearing up to send care packages to U.S. soldiers serving overseas in time for the holiday season but need a little help from the community.
The group, which formed in March of 2003 during the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, will have a packing party on Saturday, Nov. 26 to prepare as many packages as possible for the troops. The boxes will include items like snack foods, hygiene products and entertainment.
“Basically anything to make their lives a little easier,” said patriot member Bruce Hockensmith. “We like to send as much as we can, so we’re asking anyone who can to donate a few things so we can give them a nice treat. We want to send tons of stuff.”
The packages will be mailed right after the packing party so they reach the troops by Christmas.
Hockensmith was a sergeant in the Army and served in Germany from 1965-68. He said getting care packages was a little thing that helped him get through the tough times.
“I remember serving and how much it meant to me just getting a letter from home,” Hockensmith said. “For those young men and women far away from home, the least we can do is make them feel a little more comfortable.”
The patriots send packages to the troops on a regular basis but try and make a big push right before the holidays. They also receive cards from soldiers thanking them for the kind gesture.
“Seeing pictures and reading letters from the troops lets us know that the soldiers are getting the gifts we send,” said patriot member Judy McCray. “It’s always a thrill to see those letters.”
Anyone interested in donating to the cause should e-mail . Hockensmith said the group will pick up items right up to Friday, Nov. 25, or donations can be dropped off on any Friday from 4-5:30 p.m. when the patriots wave American flags in front of the Old Lutz Schoolhouse on US 41.
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