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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Troop cheer

For Jake Brenner, a junior kinesiology major, a gift package from home meant much more than what was in it. Brenner, who served in Iraq in the spring of 2003, said packages from home bring great joy to troops serving overseas.
“From the perspective of someone who has been over there, it really helps out the morale,” Brenner said.
This holiday season, some soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be treated with hospitality straight from College Station.
Operation “Troop Cheer,” a gift drive for troops sponsored by the Public Service Organization of the Bush School, was the creation of graduate student Megan Paul, a graduate student in international affairs. Paul saw others starting work programs to support overseas troops with holiday gifts, and was inspired to embark on a program of her own.
President of Public Service Organization Stephanie Curs said members of the Public Service Organization distributed fliers and publicized the event, but that Paul was chiefly responsible for the program.
“This is the idea of one student, and she has gotten the support of the Bush School,” said Curs, a graduate student of public service and administrations.
Paul said the endeavor faced many obstacles, but that she is doing as much as possible to publicize the gift drive, including contacting radio stations and distributing fliers.
Paul’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Marti Holland, whose son is stationed in Iraq, applauded Paul’s effort.
“Soldiers feel real connected when they receive packages,” Holland said.
Brenner said the concerns shown by individuals such as Paul bring comfort to troops fighting the war.
“It is a great deal considering that there are so many anti-war sentiments. The fact that a student is starting this from scratch means a lot,” Brenner said.
Holland said the gift drives reassure soldiers of their duties and affirm that this war is not another Vietnam.
Operation “Troop Cheer” will continue until Dec. 15, and collection bins are available in every Loupot’s Bookstores location. The gifts will then be delivered to Fort Hood.
“(The gifts) will be sent to the commanders to distribute,” Paul said, “Although I would like to send the things to troops in rough areas, maybe Marines in Fallujah.”
Paul estimated that collections amount to $1,000 so far. According to Suanne Pledger, Special Projects Director of Loupot’s Bookstore, only about one-third of the gift bins has been filled, but Paul said she will be happy regardless of the results.
“It doesn’t really matter how much we get,” Paul said. “We just want to make sure the troops know that we appreciate them.”

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