ROCKINGHAM — Twenty-three boxes packed full of snacks, playing cards and other items are on their way to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan with love from Richmond County.
Members of the VFW Post 4203 Auxiliary and other community volunteers spent part of Sunday afternoon filling the boxes bound for the U.S. Army 204th Clearance Company, the auxiliary’s adopted unit this year.
A table on the back wall of the VFW was lined with packages of cereal and nutrition bars, candy, Pop Tarts, beef jerky, bottles of Texas Pete hot sauce and more as the volunteers loaded the boxes as full as they could get them.
Auxiliary President Robin Roberts and her daughter, Raven, went to Sam’s Club in Matthews, using money raised during last year’s Rockin’ for Veterans concert, to buy the supplies.
“We were in there about three hours,” she said. “We wanted to get this, get that … we had our list.”
That list included: tuna salad lunch kits; ramen noodles and canned soups and pastas; canned sardines, oysters and clams; chips and crackers; trail mix and power bars; cookies, candy bars and gum; drink mixes (tea, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.); as well as playing cards, hacky sack footbags and frisbees.
Toni Maples and Jessica Davis also brought “Thank You” notes from students at Mineral Springs Elementary and Cordova Middle.
This year’s adopted unit has ties to the local VFW. Cody Giddens, who is in the unit, is the nephew of Jr. Vice Commander Vernon Lavore.
“They will love it,” Lavore said about the care packages. “I already gave him a heads up on it and they’re greatly appreciative over it.”
Lavore spent 10 years active duty and 10 years in the National Guard, serving in the Middle East during Desert Storm and later in Iraq.
He said this is the first time he’s been behind the scenes with sending care packages, but he’s been on the receiving end.
“It was great, especially if there were letters from kids,” he said. “We really appreciated it.”
Lavore said there are now more communities across the nation preparing and sending care packages.
Another three boxes were packed to send to troops stationed in Japan and South Korea.
One of those recipients will be Airman First Class Devin Roller, whose mother Tammy Joyner was helping fill the packages.
“That was (Robin’s) idea and it just touched my heart,” Joyner said.
As far as deciding what to pack in his box, Joyner said her son likes everything — except liver.
The first thing she put in his package was Texas Pete.
“He loves it,” she said. “It’ll probably be gone in a week.”
She also included Snickers candy bars, Pop Tarts, granola bars, chewing gum and chips.
“There’s so much in there I can’t remember,” she added.
Joyner said her son will enjoy “every bit of it.”
“I think it’ll mean more to him just getting something from home, knowing that it came from here and he’s 8,000 miles away,” she said. “I can’t wait for him to get it, he’s going to be so excited.”
Roberts said there were some leftovers, which will be sent to family of auxiliary members who will soon be deployed.
Out of the three years the auxiliary has presented Rockin’ for Veterans, this is the second year proceeds have gone toward troops overseas.
The first year, funds were raised to help pay for the Iwo Jima memorial in Veterans Memorial Park near the VFW. The 2017 show raised $1,800 to provide care packages to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.