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Iowa Airmen make holiday care packages for family members

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

It was sort of a holiday care package project in reverse. This week members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing took a short time-out in order to put holiday care packages together with a twist.

The difference with this project is that the packages are intended for 185th family members who are at home, while their deployed unit member is away.

Gary Schmidt, 185th ARW Airmen and Family Readiness Programs Director said the care packages are being sent to family members in order to recognize their contributions, especially during the holiday season.

“The deployment is a whole family affair, the whole family deals with the stress of a deployment in a big way. They have all the duties to pick up that the deployed member was doing when they were at home,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said organizations like Iowa Blue Star Moms, have sent care packages to all of the unit’s deployed members. He said he wanted to use some of the items he’s received to do something for unit family members.

Schmidt said the family programs office often receives unsolicited donations from area businesses and organizations, especially during the holidays.  Items are also received form groups like Support Siouxland Soldiers and Boy Scouts of America who want to show support for their local military members.

Schmidt said their goal was to put 50 packages together that will be sent out this week. Items packed in the care packages include food and other comfort items.

“We also have handmade holiday cards from area school children, these are always great,” Schmidt added.

Schmidt said in the past he would often take on the project solo but he said he wanted to invite unit members to help put the packages together. He said having others help out is a great way to encourage comradery and he said it also helps get people into the holiday spirit.