Paragould Duo Collecting Personal Care Items for Arkansas Soldiers

MAY 17, 2004 - Posted at 10:36 a.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR - Two Paragould men are leading an effort to collect supplies not provided by the military for Arkansas soldiers in Iraq.

The effort was started by Ralph Forbis, a Paragould Police dispatcher, and Josh Turner, a bank employee.  Forbis works with a police officer who has been deployed to Iraq and Turner is a former member of the Arkansas National Guard 39th Infantry Brigade now stationed in Iraq.

The duo is calling the effort "Operation Sidekick."  They collect items like toothpaste and soap and send it over in care packages.  They have set up places to drop off donations in Corning, Jonesboro and Paragould.

Forbis said the batallion's family support unit told him the military would pay for shipping the items.  He and Turner recommended that people donate toiletries and personal care products, particularly items like lip balm and sunscreen that are essential in the desert.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)