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Gurnee police send 40 boxes of care packages overseas

Gurnee 12/3/12
Officer Jeremy Gaughan 1st sgt. U.S. Army Reserves organizes package be sent his unit Middle East. | Michelle LaVigne

Gurnee 12/3/12 Officer Jeremy Gaughan, a 1st sgt. U.S. Army Reserves, organizes a package to be sent to his unit in the Middle East. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media

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Foresters retain Maine

At the same time the County Board elected a new chairman, those same officials, meeting as Lake County Forest Preserve commissioners, chose to retain Ann Maine of Lincolnshire as president and Linda Pedersen of Antioch as vice president for second terms. Both will serve two-year terms that end December 2014.

Maine said she will focus on continuing her efforts to complete and extend popular multi-use trail systems like the Millennium Trail and Greenway, restore wetlands, prairies and forests, and open new preserves throughout the county.

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Updated: February 2, 2013 2:20AM

GURNEE — Some holiday cheer was packaged up Monday at the Gurnee Police Station for Army Reservists from Fort Sheridan serving in the Middle East.

Gurnee officer Jeremy Gaughan, who is a first sergeant in the Army Reserves with two tours in Iraq, organized the care package sendoff starting Veterans Day after being inspired by the department’s Thank Military Families/Adopt a Military Family program that is in its sixth year benefitting families here at home.

Gaughan gave employees a list of items like candy, personal care products and foods they could purchase. “It didn’t have to be expensive. A year-old package of Ramen noodles are gold over there,” said Gaughan.

He did receive new packages Ramen noodles, in addition to shampoo, wipes, pencils and pens, small pieces of candy, pretzels, Goldfish crackers, batteries, coloring books, crossword books, lotion, socks, fleece blankets, and even a few Frisbee-like discs.

Gaughan said many of Fort Sheridan’s Reservists are being deployed to help shore up other units, with some stationed at smaller bases where there is less opportunity to buy the type of personal items. The plan is to send each Reservist three boxes of goods with a total of 40 going overseas.

“They’ll use the candy for goodwill with the children and the populace,” he said. “Soldiers will take what they need or like and then pass it on to other soldiers.”

If a soldier is shipped out with no forwarding address, then someone will pick a soldier to give it to on the base.

Besides his friends, family and police officers, Gaughan also recruited personnel from dispatching centers from Gurnee, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, CenCom in the Round Lake area and Red Center in Glenview to collect boxes of donations.

He said companies like Stericycle, Inc., of Lake Forest, Skipper Bud’s in Winthrop Harbor, Walgreens and the Gurnee Fraternal Order of Police Social Lodge 266, donated hundreds of dollars to ship the care packages, which should arrive in time for Christmas. Total shipping cost is around $1,000.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve been taken by surprise by the generosity of everyone,” said Police Chief Kevin Woodside. “We’ve got 18 officers in the department who are currently in the military or are veterans, so this was a logical connection.”

In addition, some adults and teachers had children write letters to the troops, which is always a special reminder of home.

“I kept some of the funny letters I received in 2004 and 2010,” said Gaughan, laughing. “That really brightens your day when you receive letters from kids.”

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