Blue Star Mom Sends a Touch of Home Overseas
Francine Thompson, a local Blue Star Mother, a title commonly given to a mother with a child actively serving in the United States Military, is collecting supplies for deployed service members. Back in 2004, while living in Florida, Ms. Thompson’s son, United States Army Staff Sergeant Shane Johnson was sent on the first of his five deployments overseas. Staff Sergeant Johnson is a Military Police Officer in a Canine Unit based out of Fort Gordon. He currently has fourteen years of service.
During her son’s first deployment, Ms. Thompson felt the need to do something for the deployed troops. Shortly thereafter, she joined Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, an organization that sent care packages and letters of encouragement to deployed soldiers overseas.
Now living in Georgia, with her son recently on his fifth deployment, Ms. Thompson wanted to send service members items that they might not be able to purchase or have available overseas as well as some comfort items.
Armed with a mother’s determination, patriotically decorated collection boxes, flyers and event notices on Facebook, Ms. Thompson got to work. An officer in The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Unit 111 in Dallas, she assembled a crew of family, friends and volunteers from the American Legion family to help.
Soon the word was out that items were needed for military care packages. Examples of the types of items sought were small travel sized toiletry items, individually packaged food items, books, magazines, writing paper, envelopes and the like. Cards, letters and notes to service members were also welcomed.
To offset the shipping expenses, Ms. Thompson began hosting Taco nights at the American Legion to cover the fees. Soon the donation boxes were overflowing with generous gifts from individuals and local businesses.
When enough supplies are gathered, crews from the American Legion, Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Riders assembled boxes, packed them and included a note of support inside each box. To date, boxes have been shipped to service members in Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq and Kuwait.
To get involved in this effort, donations are being accepted at the American Legion Post 111 on Scoggins Road in Dallas, Monday through Friday, after 3 PM and on weekends, after 12 Noon. Further, collection boxes are also located at several businesses in the community - KicknFit Cardio Fitness located at 1336 Hiram Acworth Highway, in Dallas and Pirate Printing at 41 Millhouse Drive in Hiram.
Community members may submit the names and overseas addresses of any local residents deployed overseas to Ms. Thompson by contacting the American Legion by phone at (770)445-2759 or by writing to the American Legion Auxiliary at P.O. Box 1951, Dallas, GA 30132.