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VFW 2995 packs its 13,000th care package for troops overseas

Volunteers at the VFW 2995 in Redmond send care packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan every month. On Thursday, they packed their 13,000th package. - Courtesy Photo
Volunteers at the VFW 2995 in Redmond send care packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan every month. On Thursday, they packed their 13,000th package.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

On the first and third Thursday of each month, veterans, family, friends and other volunteers from VFW 2995 in Redmond have been packing care packages with personal items, food and candy to be shipped to the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John Kenny, a World War II combat veteran who served in the Pacific on New Guinea, Leyte and Luzon, organized the Troop Support Program eight years ago and on March 21, VFW 2995 marked the milestone of packing its 13,000th box.

VFW member Joe Crecca (below) packed the 13,000th box.

Crecca is a Vietnam War veteran. During the Rolling Thunder air operation and on his 87th mission near Hanoi, North Vietnam, Crecca's F-4C Phantom fighter was hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile. He ejected and was immediately captured upon landing and spent the next six years and three months in the Hanoi Hilton prison system in North Vietnam.

The 100 boxes that were packed last week were sent to PFC David Waack, the son of Pete and Cherie Waack of Kirkland. Pete Waack completed two tours in Vietnam. This is David Waack's first deployment to Afghanistan.

In each box, VFW 2995 volunteers include a Beanie Baby, which is especially important for the troops.

In a letter to VFW 2995, Spc. Taylor, who is stationed in Afghanistan, wrote:

Dear Mr. Kenny, VFW Post, and the Troop Support committee,

I would like to take the time to first, thank you all for the thoughtful care package and secondly, apologize for my late acknowledgment of receiving your package. I would like you all to know that the package was greatly appreciated. Every item inside the box brought a smile to my face. It was easy to take for granted something as simple as a good toothbrush when I was back home. The coffee, oatmeal, book, candy, pain reliever, magazine and socks have been wonderful. As for the Beanie Baby...My pal Fleece the sheep sleeps next to my pillow every night. I know that a number of us here do the same. In fact, some take their "battle pet" out on patrol. The care packages that you all put together definitely convey your love and gratitude for us soldiers. It is heartwarming to receive such kindness from people I don't even know, especially when so far way from loved ones. Thank you for your efforts, your thoughts and your prayers. God bless you all.

With sincere gratitude,

Spc. Taylor, Afghanistan

VFW 2995 volunteers will be collecting needed items and cash for shipping — as the U.S. Postal Service charges $12.30 per box — from April 12-14 at the Fred Meyer at 12221 120th Ave. N.E. in Kirkland. They will also be collecting cash at the Mariners game on April 13.

In addition, VFW 2995 is in short supply of Beanie Babies since they need 200 per month. Volunteers will be accepting Beanie Babies donations at the Fred Meyer location or they can be dropped off at the VFW 2995 at 4330 148th Ave. N.E. in Redmond, WA. 98052. Cash donations can be sent to: VFW 2995 Attn: John Kenny Troop Support Program at the same address. For more information, call (425) 883-2995.

Volunteers are also needed for the program. For more information on how to get involved, call (425) 488-8887.

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