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ASU's Beck PRIDE Center spearheads collection drive for troops in Iraq

June 25, 2008 -- The Beck PRIDE Center at Arkansas State University is teaming with Craighead County and area veterans’ organizations and local businesses to sponsor a drive to collect personal care and convenience items for the uniformed service members serving in the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Arkansas National Guard in Iraq. The shipment date for the collected items is Friday, July 11.

Twenty collection sites are available around northeast Arkansas, with boxes produced and donated by Smurfit Stone Company. The sites include the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Craighead County Veterans Service Office, Triple FM Radio Group, all Liberty Bank locations in Jonesboro, Paragould, Monette, and Rector, the ASU National Guard Armory in Jonesboro, the ASU College of Nursing and Health professions lobby, and the Beck PRIDE Center office.

In addition, servicemen and servicewomen, local veteran’s organizations, and  community volunteers will be on hand Monday, June 30 from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. at the old Indian Mall location to collect items for shipment. Triple FM will broadcast live from the site. At the Indian Mall site, a Humvee will be provided by the Arkansas National Guard 875th Engineering Battalion, and stations or tables will be manned by combat veterans, veteran service organizations, and community volunteers. There will also be a collection box for monetary donations to help pay shipping costs for the troop care packages, and donors will be able to sign the banner that the Beck PRIDE Center will ship to the troops along with the packages. The Indian Mall site will also feature stations or tables where donors can sign greeting cards or write notes of support to be sent to the troops, and children can create draw pictures to send with crayons and coloring sheets which will be provided. Groups and individuals can be photographed holding their donations, notes, or pictures with on-air personalities from Triple FM. These photos will be used to create CDs to send with the donated items.

Theresa Jaques, Family Assistance Center specialist, and the coordinator for northeast Arkansas’ Family Assistance Center, will also be on hand. Family Assistance Centers, funded through the federal National Guard Bureau, were created primarily to serve the families of deployed service members, but the centers also serve retired and injured soldiers and veterans. Family Assistance Centers assist in caring for all military families, especially family members of deployed troops.

Other patriotic displays and activities provided by other Veteran Service organizations will also be featured.

Susan Tonymon, program director for the Beck PRIDE Center, says, “This is the first community project that the Beck PRIDE Center has undertaken since our doors first opened at Arkansas State University in October 2007. Since that time I’ve had the opportunity to visit with more than sixty service members. A recurring theme during those conversations is that many combat veterans have a deep desire to continue to serve others, even after their military service. This project to support soldiers currently deployed in combat service is one way to fulfill that objective.  The Beck PRIDE Center staff are working to involve not only center participants and our own veteran volunteer group, but also as many other organizations as possible. We are so pleased that the Sigma Pi Fraternity at ASU and several area veterans’ service organizations have stepped up to help by providing volunteers and other assistance.

“Our goal is to be able to gather enough donated items and financial contributions from generous individuals in northeast Arkansas that we will be able to ship 250 boxes to the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team currently stationed in Iraq. The deadline for this shipment is Friday, July 11, 2008. If this collection drive to support these troops goes as well as we expect, the Beck PRIDE Center will continue to do projects like this again,” said Tonymon.

Donors are reminded that it is very hot in Iraq. Perishable items, flammables, chocolate, and other foods that melt or spoil are not advised. A list of suggestions for items to donate is available on the Beck PRIDE Center Website: or from Triple FM Radio Group or at any Liberty Bank location.

“Deployed soldiers have told us that they often interact with the local Iraqi children,” said Tonymon. “They like to provide toys for them like coloring books, coloring pencils (crayons melt), and other small toys like those that come in fast food meals. Our Beck PRIDE Center veterans tell us that helping the Iraqi people is a very gratifying part of their deployment experience. The service members that I have talked to who served in Iraq have described the children and their parents as very appreciative and grateful for even the smallest tokens of kindness.”

Personal care and food items are needed by both male and female soldiers, as well as miscellaneous items including sunglasses, batteries, CDs and DVDs. In addition, mail and postage items such as note cards, envelopes, and postage are needed.

For a complete list of needed items, check the ASU website’s home page,, for a link to the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Soldiers (or see Once at the Beck page, click on the link, “Support Our Troops,” ( in the scarlet box at the left.

For more information, contact Susan Tonymon at (870) 972-2624 or




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