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|Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 3:41 am Post subject: Marines receive packages from Edgemere
|MARINES IN IRAQ GLAD TO GET PACKAGES FROM EDGEMERE
The remnants of a truck carrying Edgemere Marine Lance Cpl. George "Eddie" Hook in Iraq. Hook was awarded the Purple Heart for being injured in the July rocket attack on the vehicle.
Residents work together on care package mission
by Joseph M. Giordano
Despite living in a computerized world, there's nothing like getting a piece of mail that you can hold in your hands and pass among friends.
Especially if you're in a war zone.
There, mail becomes a personal link between the soldier and the world at home.
With this in mind, the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows Lodge No. 4, Curves of Edgemere and a doting mother decided to send care packages to Iraq to men who had no mail.
"It was really sad," Doris Hook, mother of Lance Cpl. George "Eddie" Hook III, said last week. "We found out that six Marines in his unit never received mail. So we figured we had to do something about it."
Lance Cpl. George "Eddie" Hook III during his second tour of Iraq.
She and her father, IOOF member Miles Meyer, started the so-called Marine Mail project.
"Whether you're in favor of the war or not, you have to support our troops in the field," said Hook, who is also a member of the Maryland chapter of Marine Moms.
In June, the soldier's commanding officer put a message on the Web site of the Second Marine Unit Small Craft Company explaining that several of his men were not receiving mail, according to Meyer.
"We sent a few packages to the guys who got mail but no packages," Meyer said Friday. "Then my daughter got an e-mail from a [sergeant] telling us that about six guys didn't get anything in the mail at all."
In July, Meyer brought this to the attention of his fellow IOOF members, who supported the idea of sending more packages.
"One of the members, Howard Carter, a plumber, was next door to Curves," Meyer said. "His wife [also a member] asked if they wanted to help out, and they just about took care of everything. They were great."
Helping out the community came easily, according to the manager of the woman's fitness center.
More than fitness: Curves of Edgemere manager Sandy Reina worked with neighbors, the Independant Order of the Odd Fellows, to send care packages to Marines in Iraq. photo by Joseph M; Giordano
"[Curves] likes to help out, as we are part of the community," said Sandy Reina, who manages the woman's weight loss and fitness center in the 7300 block of North Point Road.
Curves provided the Marine Mail program with five big boxes of goods to be sent to the mail-less men of Hook's unit.
"Curves gave us good stuff too," Meyer said.
The boxes contained toiletries, snacks, phone cards and cookies that Curves collected from church groups and the community, according to Meyer.
From the initial five boxes, Meyer's wife, Doris, and their daughter assembled the packages and prepared them for mailing, occasionally adding a note of support, Meyer said.
The sealed packages were passed over to the IOOF, whose members took care of the postage and sent them off.
"The government should waive the postage on packages going to our troops," Meyer said. "It's really expensive to send all those boxes there. And then there's all the customs forms you have to fill out. The process should be made easier."
Since June, when the mailing started, 20 boxes have been sent to Hook's unit.
Have they had the desired effect on those who needed them most?
Lance Cpl. George Hook III, a 2001 graduate of Sparrows Point High School, described the outcome of Marine Mail on Monday.
"The guys were extremely happy to receive the packages," Hook wrote via e-mail from his base in Iraq. "It reminds us that there are people back in the states that really do care about the cause we are fighting for."
In July, the 22-year-old Todd's Farm resident - who was awarded a Purple Heart when his vehicle was hit during a rocket attack - was stationed in Haditha near the spot where 14 Marines from Ohio were killed by a roadside bomb, according to his mother.
The Marine's unit is stationed on a so-called forward operating base, which means it's where the action is, according to his e-mail.
"We are often the ones you hear about in the news," he wrote.
The packages from home are like a "thank you" and a reminder that the Marines are doing their job, he wrote.
"All the letters and packages really help remind us of the reason we put our lives on the line," Hook wrote. "Rarely do we get a pat on the back. Over a period of a couple of months, you begin to wonder what you're fighting for."
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