Local group stuffs stockings for troops

Authored by Jim Langham on Dec 10, 2012

Troops serving overseas from Adams County are being sent stockings to pass out to those around them during the Christmas holiday season. Each package contains 79 stockings full of goodies to be passed out by military personnel to those serving in harm’s way.
Items included in the stockings include lip balms, puzzle books, toiletries, movies, batteries, personal items, food goodies, crossword puzzles and bandanas.
“We want them to share these with their deployed units,” said John Zwick, who is helping head up the effort.
“This is a great thing,” Zwick said. “It’s a great thing to see all of the county residents, and especially all of the young people involved in collection and distribution of all of these items.”
Zwick said that the idea for the project was sown through a veterans and family care organization that the funeral home is connected with.
“This idea was given to us five years ago,” said Zwick.
Those interested in the project sought assistance and guidance from Coni Mayer and the Adams County Community Foundation.
“We plugged into it in order to help make the community aware of the needs of our county military personnel during this season of the year,” Zwick said. “We (Zwick and Jahn) take care of all of the expenses related to the shipment.
“This is one way of helping benefit people from our community,” added Zwick. “This is a unique way for young people from our community to show their support for our troops,” noted Zwick. “The troops are always very appreciative. This is just a little taste of home.”
Those organizations that that helped distribute the stockings and package the boxes include: VFW Post 6751 of Geneva, American Legion Post 43 of Decatur, American Legion Post 468 of Berne, Boy Scout Troop 67 of southern Adams County, Zwick and Jahn Funeral Home and Bellmont High School FFA Chapter.
“It feels great to repay them for what they did for us,” commented Christian Zwick. “I hope that they know that we have their back like they have ours.”
“It means a lot to know that they sacrifice every day,” added Bellmont’s Sam Steiner. “Some of them can’t come home for Christmas so we are giving to them.
It’s tough; my grandpa (Herman Bittner) served in the military.”
Les Wagner noted that South Adams third graders wrote special notes to insert with the stockings.
Wagner shared an example of one such letter that was written by a local third grader.
“Dear veteran, I am very thankful for you because you answered your call to duty. Thank you for serving our country. I am very dedicated to you for all of your hard work,” wrote the student.
Bellmont student Karley Hockemeyer said that she went to Washington, D.C. last May. She noted that she was shocked when she saw all of the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
“I realized what they went through to keep us safe,” Hockemeyer said. “It was overwhelming to see all of the people that had served. My grandpa, Terry Ogg, served in Vietnam. I want to thank everyone for serving our country.”
A letter inserted into each shipment stated, “We hope that these care packages provide joy to your holiday season and a reminder of home. Thank you for the service you are providing to our country. These stockings were filled over the past month by residents of Adams County. Please share with those in your unit. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

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