August 14, 2006--Posted at 10:30 p.m. CDT
RECTOR, AR--If you have ever been to summer camp and received a care package from home, you understand the significance it can hold. Imagine you are deployed in Iraq and you receive something from someone back home.
"Anything that we are accustomed to having that they don't have, we try to get to give them a little joy in their lives," said Ruth Wimberley of Operation Dad Bags.
Operation Dad Bags started two years ago with a grandmother (Wimberley) sending a care package to her grandson in Iraq, but now the second Monday of every month is a full scale community event aimed to brighten the spirits of the men and women serving overseas.
"We have sent over 600 from this little location," said Wimberley.
"When I first received the first load I got 13 boxes and I was supposed to pass them out to everyone. Morale went through the roof," said Wimberley's grandson, Sgt. Joel Hayes.
Monday evening, Operation Dad Bags put together 17 care packages to go to troops overseas and while there are items inside that might not mean a lot to most people, they all have a special meaning to those who receive them.
"Getting a care package like this is like getting a piece of home. It's getting a piece of what you left behind sent to you," said Hayes.
Rector, like other communities in northeast Arkansas, has men serving in the 875th Engineer Battalion. Once they deploy, Operation Dad Bag expects to step up production to over 40 packages a month. The group is made up of volunteers, run entirely by donations and is just something small they feel makes a big difference.
"We have never refused any name. They don't have to be from this area, because they are all over there fighting for our freedom," said Wimberley.