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Caring for our soldiers, one package at a time

By Sonny Long
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:26 a.m.

Gary Walters, 32, died in Iraq in 2005. He was the first Victoria solider to die in the war.

SUGGESTED DONATION ITEMS

Donations to Gary's Care Packages may include nonperishable food along with a variety of other needed items, including razors, toothbrushes, tooth paste, Band-Aids, Neosporin, moist wipes, peanut butter crackers, gum, hard candies, jerky, peanuts, batteries, playing cards, checkers, disposable cameras, stationary, pencils, pens, journals, small Bibles, books, snack foods, CDs, handheld games, Christmas décor, inspirational notes and cards and photos of home.

When Heather Brown lost her brother, Gary Walters, in 2005 during the war in Iraq, she was determined not to let his memory die, too.

Brown, along with family friends Heather Wendel and Nora Brosig, started Gary's Care Packages, to honor Walters.

"It was really Heather Wendel's idea," said Brown. "She said we had to do something to honor Gary and not let people forget the sacrifice he made."

It was important not to let Walters, the first Victorian to be killed during the war in Iraq, be forgotten, said Wendel.

"We were determined to keep Gary's memory alive in Victoria - he's homegrown," she said. "We want to remind people what he did for us."

The trio of friends also did not want those soldiers remaining in harm's way to be forgotten.

"We appreciate what they do for us and our country," Wendel said. "We want to let them know they are thought about and tell them thank you."

The Victoria College Veterans Association held a package drive recently, and other donations to Gary's Care Packages may be dropped off at Devereux Gardens in Victoria and Goliad and at Chick-Fil-A in Victoria.

The eighth annual care package drive will culminate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 at Grace Lutheran Church, 9806 NE Zac Lentz Parkway.

Donations may continue to be dropped off at Devereux and Chick-Fil-A through Nov. 11.

Monetary donations are also needed to help pay for postage.

If you want a package to go to a specific solider or unit, email that postal information to garyscarepackages@yahoo.com.

For more information, call 361-935-7219 or 361-237-9040.

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