Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Operation Sunscreen

I went to Jefferson Barracks today to meet with Karen Irwin, wife of a Missouri National Guard officer and the woman who conceived Operation Sunscreen. Her goal is to get a care package in the hands of all Missouri National Guard members who are serving in Iraq or Kosovo. I had seen an article about her in the Kirkwood-Webster Journal, and I called her to see how we can help her this Christmas season. She needs 120 additional snack bags put together. As one of the host homes for the SWT Christmas party, we were to come up with an activity for the party-goers when they arrive at our house, which is the last of four stops. Instead of playing games, I suggested to Jim that we do a service project instead. Operation Sunscreen seemed perfect for the amount of time and attendees we will have. Karen provided me with 120 clear cellophane gift bags and granola bars, but she was out of the candy she normally puts in the bags. I had already committed to purchasing enough Propel or Gatorade single serving packs to place two in each bag. I told her we would take care of buying the necessary candy as well. Each of these goodie bags will later get placed in a larger zippered plastic bag containing face wipes and lip balm, and a hand-written note by a grade school child in this area. I plan to have all of our guests complete a note to at least one soldier as well. I still need to pick those up as we will need 120. I'll ask at the high school for classes to write a short note if we can't get them all done on Saturday. I feel really good about this project, and I think it is a perfect way to end our Christmas party - thinking about others instead of ourselves. As an aside, it was a thrill to visit Jefferson Barracks. My dad was stationed there during WWII, until he was shipped overseas, and I have heard a lot of stories about his time there. I'd like to go back to the visitors center there sometime as I am interested in writing up something about dad's service years and I think I could gather some great background material.

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