©REGISTER PUBLICATIONS, 2002       TURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2002                  PAGE 1B

Home folks get involved in Afghan war

Care packages from here are the 'bomb' with troops

American bomber crews "send a message" to terrorists in Afghanistan on behalf of their benefactors in Dearborn County, including Moores Hill, the cummunity's post office, and county sheriff.

The shock and horror that came to Americans when terrorists attacked the nation last Sept. 11 has changed lives throughout America. The nation went to war and it has done so with support of most of the U.S. populace.

Lloyd and Nancy Spears, Osgood, and their daughter, Stacey, were one family that saw changes occur quickly in their home.

Stacey Spears
Stacey Spears, whose mother, Nancy Spears, Osgood, organized the care package effort, was called up by Air National Guard to a Virginia base.
Stacey Spears, a tech sergeant in the Air National Guard, was called to active duty and sent to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., where she is assigned as an imagery analyst.

Her mother, Nancy Spears, a rural mail carrier for 14 years working out of the Moores Hill Post Office, decided right away that she was going to join in the war effort too.

"Before Stacey left, I told her, ' I'm going to bake for all the troops.'" said Spears.

Her daughter informed her she could not do that because of security, but added that she has a friend who lives in a tent on Diego Garcia, an air base in the Indian Ocean.

That was all Spears needed to hear.

"I went ahead and baked stuff--cookies, cookie bars, brownies--and also included such things as a box of Febreze that I had learned they could use to make their living area smell better. I had two boxes and I mailed them," said Spears, who mailed two packages Monday, Oct. 8.

After receiving the boxes, Teresa fired back a letter, dated Saturday, Nov. 10, that began with, "You are truly a blessing! I received both packages and I have to admit, it felt like Christmas."

She noted that "The B-52 air crews wanted me to pass on to you that they loved the cookie bars you made. Actually, the B-1 bomber guys ate them, also. When they saw your name on the second box, yesterday, they waited around like vultures. I made sure I shared with everyone. You are now referred to as 'Bomber Mom.'"

Teresa, a friend of Stacey Spears in Diego Garcia, an island base in the Indiana Ocean, is the recipient of the weekly care packages from the Dearborn County volunteers supporting troops there.
In the letter, Teresa also noted she figured out she had received the Febreze because Stacey told her mother about "my moldy sleeping bag." She also wrote, "I share a tent with 10 girls and we all take shifts draining the 'sagging roof' so that it doesn't collapse again, due to the weight of the water."

Diego Garcia is a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Located near the equator, it is the site of a U.S. air base that houses the powerful bombers that have pounded Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan since the U.S. led assault began there last fall.

After the first mailing, Spears recruited her friend, Melony Webster, Moores Hill, who had helped her pack the intial boxes.

Melony Webster, Moores Hill, left, and Nancy spears, Osgood, organized a mission to send care packages to American troops on Diego Garcia, an island air base in the Indian Ocean.
Webster, a mother of four who has been a clerk at the Moores Hill Post Office for the past eight years, was excited about joining in full time.

"If this is a good thing, if it's going to happen, everything will fall into place." said Webster, adding that the events of the past few months have proved her right.

The duo sent five boxes to Diego Garcia in time for Christmas and now send packages to the air base every Friday morning.

Neither is amazed the money to carry out their labor of love shows up each week.

Webster and Spears split the postage costs any week there are insufficient funds for a mailing. So far, they kick in only about $1.50 each to get their packages on their way.

Both women's husbands, Lloyd Spears and Billy Joe Webster, have been ardent supporters of the misssion as well as their other family members.

"So far, we have sent more than 500 pounds that have cost about $1.60 a pound to mail," said Webster.

The first package took about three weeks to arrive at the base, but the women learned how to cut out a step that took a week by sending packages directly to the air base.

They also found that to get packages right through, they must be addressed to Operation Enduring Freedom.

The women also put return addresses on the boxes, Friends from Dearborn County, and that gets them quick attention from the folks on the receiving end.

What started as an individual project has snowballed. Every week, they get sizable cash donations including many that customers pass across the postal counter.

She got her mother, LaVerne Auel, and sister, Koletta Mondary, involved too. Both are cooks at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center, Lawrenceburg.

They also quickly enlisted jail matron Tammy Wismann and her husband, Sheriff Dave Wismann, as well as Judy Jump and Dorene Rorabacher, who both also work at the LEC, and Tisha Linzy, who works in the county's probation department.

Sheriff's deputy Jack Prarat and his wife, Kathi, who live in Morres Hill, also are volunteers as well as post office employee, Becky Neff and her family. Jean Smaltz, a Moores Hill postal carrier, recruited The Farm Club. Its members made a large donation.

Deb schuman, a computer technician at Sunman Elementary School, got students in the first-, second-, and fourth-grade classes, plus some hearing impaired students, involved in writing letters that have been eargerly received by the troops.

Still another recruit, Spears' sister, June Kist, Harrison, has involved The Jects organization of St. John's United Church of Christ in Harrison.

Though they are half a world apart, the troops and the homeland supporters have found e-mail to be a fast, easy way to communicate.

As a result, the packages have been diversified to contain Pringles, salsa, condiments, Frisch's tartar sauce, playing cards, puzzle books, videos and double "A" and "AAA" batteries for use in their Pen Lite flashlights.

B-52 crew member
Shannon, a captain and member of a B-52 crew, has been flying bombing missions over Afghanistan.
Shannon, a captain who is a B-52 crew member, corresponds with the Indiana women via e-mail.

He writes, "It is such spontaneous acts of kindness which reiterate to me how great our country is and how most Americans have roots firmly planted in Patriotism and religion."

The bomber crews have flown flags in honor of their benefactors. One of the bombs they dropped on the enemy in Afganistan contained the words, "Moore Hill+ Post/Sherriff."

That feat stirred the excitement of both Spears and Webster. They also have received a "thank you" e-mail from the lieutenant colonel who is a B-52 pilot and squadron commander.

Webster and spears welcome additional local participation, but emphasized they cannot accept baked goods from people they don't know. Packaged items, however, can be accepted.

"So many people really want to help out and don't know how," said Webster.

Spears agrees. "We just feel so good doing it. it's like it's just divine."

The troops have written back, "You are stuck with a family in Southeastern Indiana."

Used by permission from Register Publications.

Return to main page.