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ARIZONANS UNITE TO SEND CARE ACROSS THE MILES

In a community effort, VFW Post 3513 sent 600 care packages to service members overseas.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot to make our military personnel happy,” said Marilou Peavley, Veterans and Family Support Chairman for VFW Post 3513 Auxiliary in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“The most important thing is to be there for the families, listen to their needs and get involved to brighten their day.”

Last June, Peavley got involved by spearheading an effort to collect thousands of items for care packages. The event was called Support Our Troops.

“I wanted to send these men and women care packages with comforting items from home - items that many had been without for some time,” said Peavley. “It’s important they know their community is here for them…always.”

KPHO TV channel 5 of Phoenix, Ariz., promoted the cause, urging Arizonans to bring their items to one of the eight Phoenix Valley Honda dealerships where they were collected.

To assemble the packages, Peavley hosted a packing party in August at the local National Guard Armory. VFW riders escorted rows of Hondas filled to the brim with donated items.  Inside was everything from toiletries to sporting equipment.

“We had no idea how big this undertaking was going to turn out,” said Peavley. “Going into this, our goal was to send 400 boxes.  We ended up with enough items to fill 600 boxes.

With the manpower of almost 200 volunteers, putting the packages together took just a little over two hours.

“It’s not often that a state can pull this off,” said Valerie Speltz. “It was so rewarding to see our combined efforts pay off.”

Recipients were floored by the level of generosity. The thank you cards and photographs are still flooding in.

“They wanted us to know that they’re very grateful for every package that was sent to their units.  They’re using the items and they’re sharing with friends,” said Peavley. "It was a wonderful feeling to touch the heart and soul of every military man and woman."

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