Troops thank local donors for care packages

VERO BEACH — Prior to Christmas, Tom and Linda Overholt organized a fabulous party at their home and invited their guests to bring care-package type items that they could send to soldiers serving overseas.  The friends first organized the donations, then packaged everything up assembly line style, and shipped more than 100 boxes of goodies to Major Tim Bailey, USMC Afghanistan for distribution.  But the story doesn’t end there. 

After receiving a thank-you note from Maj. Bailey, Mr. Overholt asked if there were other items which the soldiers might need.  Maj. Bailey replied in a manner that shows our soldiers’ true generosity of spirit.  Both of Maj. Bailey’s letters are reprinted below:

Dear Mr. Overholt and family, My Marines, Soldiers and I here in Kabul, Afghanistan received a care package from you today and I wanted to send you a personal note and thank you for contribution.  We are stationed in a small camp called Camp Eggers in the green zone in Kabul.  We have a multi-national force here so your generous gifts were distributed among U.S. Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen as well as Romanian, French and Afghani Military. I am personally sending post cards to each of the young people who sent letters along with the box but I wanted to send a personal email to you directly, I can’t tell you how much things like this mean to us especially at this time of year. Take care. Tim V/R Major Tim Bailey, USMC CJ4 Operations NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/ Combined Security Transition Command


Mr. Overholt,

I would like to begin by thanking you and your family for your generosity in offering to forgo part of your Christmas so that you could send us gifts here in Afghanistan but the gifts you sent earlier were more than enough and there is no need to send us anything more.  Thank you for thinking of us. If you would like to do something special this Christmas then I would ask that you consider sending a box of school supplies and/or winter coats and shoes for the kids in Kabul.  I have asked me family members not to send me Christmas gifts this year but instead to go to the local Goodwill and pick out some descent coats and shoes for kids and send those so that we may distribute them during our next school visit. A few weeks ago we visited a local elementary school to give out clothes, shoes and school supplies to 1st and 2nd grade children and I was brought to tears by the conditions.  It was below 30 degrees that particular day and approximately 25% of these children didn’t have shoes, only sandals.  The kids who did have shoes weren’t much better off because the shoes they had were substandard at best.  Many of the children didn’t have jackets and some didn’t even have on socks.  It was heart breaking to say the least. We handed out 30 boxes of clothes and shoes and barely made a dent.  Our biggest shortfalls were with shoes and coats.  Some kids were so determined to get shoes that they would try on any pair of shoes that was available no matter how large or small.  It was desperation and I felt terrible because we didn’t have enough to take care of each child. School supplies were another hit because the school can’t afford to give out paper or pencils. Unfortunately a lot of the desks didn’t even have wood tops for them to use for writing.  To make it all even more unbearable there was no heat in the classrooms and again, the temperature was below 30 degrees on that particular day. If you would like to do something for us this holiday season then this would be much better than sending things for us.  Now if you could box up the Hooters Girl then I might change my mind! Just kidding of course.  I thank you again for considering us at Christmas time and your family’s thoughtfulness and willingness to sacrifice is admirable, you definitely have outstanding children and I applaud you for instilling such kindness in them.  I will attach a couple of pictures of our recent school visit so you will have an idea of why I would do without so that these kids might have something more.  Thank you again. Tim

As a result of his request, shoes of all sizes are being collected at the Osceola Magnet School, the Vero Beach Community Center, Leisure Square, and Fire Stations 1, 2 and 9.

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