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GMC News

GMC Employee Collecting Items to Send to Soldiers

GMC employee collecting items to send to soldiers in Iraq

By Payton Towns III – The Union-Recorder
When the manager of the information technology department at Georgia Military College asked for items to send to American soldiers in Iraq, the response from the community didn’t disappoint her.

Jean Peecher’s office is overflowing with baby wipes, beef jerky, all sorts of snacks, dried food, lots of gum, magazines, writing paper, envelopes, pens, Q-tips, lots of sunscreen, batteries, bug spray and disposable cameras.

Everything she’s received came from people at GMC and from the community.

“I got this stuff in two weeks,” Peecher said. “It’s just a lot of stuff. There are lots of letters. I’m real happy with the letters. I think there will be more than enough of the letters to go around.”

Peecher said the letters will be nice for the soldiers to read.

“I’ve gotten letters from John Milledge Academy, a couple from the public schools and from classes at GMC,” she said. “Some are drawings, some are cards and some are letters. It’s really interesting looking at them. … Some say ‘Thank you very much’ and ‘Thank you for supporting me.’ I got tears in my eyes from a couple of them.”

Her plan is to send the items to the soldiers in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

“One of the reasons I sent out a campus e-mail is because I knew (the items) would be going to so many people,” Peecher said. “(The regiment) is currently in western Iraq. They have lost a few people recently in the last month or two because fighting has increased.

“A friend of mine sent out a request for anyone who could to maybe send a few things or a letter or anything to his best friend in Iraq,” she said. “I though I would ask around because I’ve sponsored a couple of soldiers already. I put out the word here at the school and the next thing I knew everything started pouring in.”

Not long after sending out the e-mail, Peecher was called by members at Evergreen Baptist Church.

“A teacher here goes there and he called me and asked if they could collect items,” she said. “They sent me a lot of letters and a lot of items that I went to pick up.”

Because she has received so many things, Peecher will soon begin to box up the items to get them out of her office.

“I’m going to go ask some businesses if they want to help donate some money for shipping,” she said. “I’ve already talked with the post office and got all the information I need. I’m going to do boxes with a little bit of everything in each box.”

The boxes will be shipped out when it is financially possible, probably over a period of a couple of weeks, she said.

“That’s why it’s OK if people want to contact me about donating anything,” she said. “I’ll be happy to take it and help get it over there. It makes me feel good that so many people want to do something. I’m glad that I’ve been able to give people an outlet to do something.”

Part of her motivation is that she wants those who are in Iraq to see first hand that people do care and will do things like this.

“Maybe it will encourage them to go into the military with a better attitude,” she said. “I want to make sure that our military knows that we back them. I don’t want something like the Vietnam War to happen again to our military.

Peecher, who organized a rally for American soldiers before the war started in March 2003, said it’s important to send the soldiers items and let them know people are still thinking about them.

“I think this is particularly important in light of recent events,” she said, referring to the Iraq prisoner story. “It’s very important to distinguish between the good that our troops are doing. They need to know, especially with some of the bad news that is out there, that we are not forgetting about them.”

Peecher said that Americans can’t judge the entire military based on what a handful of people have done.

“They are out there doing things that I don’t know that I would have the guts to do,” Peecher added. “You see the news clips and fire fights and you see them pulling wounded comrades off the field. These people are willing to give their lives and take the fight to our enemies, so that I can sit at home and watch ‘Survivor,’ and that on my way to work I don’t have to worry about roadside bombs. I can just come on in to work.”

Peecher, who has three sons, says it is important for them to respect the military and understand the sacrifices the soldiers are making.

“I tell my oldest son that these (soldiers) are like your dad or brother. People die in war but they are willing to take the sacrifices to take that risks for us,” she said. “Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s important that the troops know that we support them.”

Peecher said people can go to www.operationac.com and sign up to adopt an individual. People can donate money or sign up for a person’s address.

For more information, call Peecher at (478) 445-2700.

Payton Towns III covers law enforcement, the court system and Baldwin County education for The Union-Recorder. He can be reached at (478) 453-1456 or by e-mail at newsroom@unionrecorder.com