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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.
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: http://cp.astate.edu/pride/ 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,
www.astate.edu, for a link to the
Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Soldiers (or see http://cp.astate.edu/pride/).
Once at the Beck page, click on the link, “Support Our Troops,” (http://cp.astate.edu/pride/support/)
in the scarlet box at the left.
For more information, contact Susan Tonymon at (870) 972-2624 or