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Community cares and shares to support troops overseas

Grayslake-1/27/13 Sun./Grayslake Fire Station
Tyler Weidman 7 Grayslake works with his Dad Grayslake Fire Department BattaliChief Jim Weidman packing care packages

Grayslake-1/27/13, Sun./Grayslake Fire Station Tyler Weidman, 7, of Grayslake works with his Dad, Grayslake Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Weidman packing care packages Sunday at the Grayslake Fire Station. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 1, 2013 6:39AM

More than 100 U.S. soldiers will receive care packages packed with hand-written thank you notes, food and toiletries from the Grayslake community.

Grayslake’s Fire Protection District spearheaded a local effort to collect and send at least 100 care packages to USO facilities Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan, according to Grayslake Fire Department Bat. Chief Jim Weidman. The department collected donations for two weeks and packaged everything Sunday at the Grayslake Fire Department.

“I think the positive response (from the community) comes from they wanting to make sure they’re supporting our troops, who are fighting for our freedom. (The community) wants them (the soldiers) to know we appreciate it,” Weidman said.

Everyday items such as non-perishable food items, toiletries, entertainment items like books and clothing were sorted and boxed. Several businesses donated and the U.S. Postal Service donated boxes.

The goal was to ship 100 care packages, Weidman said.

“Last year, we had the same goal and shipped 227 care packages,” Weidman said.

Enough money was donated to cover the $12.95 per box shipping charge as well as to purchase supplies for an additional 30 packages, Weidman said.

By the end of the day Sunday, more than 100 care packages were assembled.

Cub Scout Pack 91 wrote several thank you letters to include in the packages. Girls Scouts and Boy Scout Troop 73 were on hand Sunday to assemble the packages.

“We like to do a good turn, do service project and help out,” said Scoutmaster Rich Przybylski.

The scouts learned about the military care package drive from Hillary Fain of Hainesville, who is Wediman’s neighbor.

Fain’s husband is in the Navy and said that was why it was important to participate. Military members “enjoy getting” the care packages,” Fain said.

“They like to hear from home and they appreciate getting letters. It’s important to give back to pay it forward,” Fain said.

Boy Scout Will Campbell, 15, of Grayslake, said he thanked the military service men and women for their service in the thank you letter he wrote.

“I wanted to help the soldiers that are in Afghanistan. They deserve to have our thanks. It’s really nice that the fire department did this for our soldiers,” Will said.

Last year was the first year the fire department started the care package drive, Weidman said.

“One of our part-time people was (deployed). The guys here put together a care package for him. We thought we could do a lot better than one package for one soldier,” Weidman said.

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