Hometown Heroes--Southeastern Tech Collects for Troops

We expect families of deployed military to collect and send things to help them when they're far from home. But one woman organized a drive in Vidalia after her son returned home. She and coworkers collected the things that could brighten their day.

Faculty and students at Southeastern Tech loaded up boxes to go to Savannah then the other side of the world. Three teachers and 30 students sealed up care packages to go to troops in Iraq. Karen Davis got the idea when her Marine son came home from his deployment.

"While he was there, we sent him care packages asking what he wanted, what he needed," the pharmacy instructor explained. "When he came back, he talked about what was in the boxes and how much it meant so we said we'll do it as Christmas."

With some help, they collected toiletries, books, CDs and more.

Some of the things, like bubble gum, paper and pencils, or peanuts are for sale at any corner store here at home. But when you can't get to them, they can be the difference between a good day and a bad day for troops far away.

The USO put them in touch with the Air Guard at Savannah's Combat Readiness Training Center, which has units about to deploy.

"It's great for the Vidalia community to come together and show they support us," noted Master Sgt. Rose Wade. "Sometimes when you've busy doing the job, you don't think of it and you can get down."

"We have so many people in this community and at this school affected by having loved ones go to Iraq," added STC president Dr. Cathy Meehan.

Their efforts to help total strangers who wear the uniform make Karen Davis and company this week's WTOC Hometown Heroes.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com