Marine’s mom masterminds care package program | PostIndependent.com
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Marine’s mom masterminds care package program

RIFLE – Debbie Zwierzchowski is thousands of miles away from her son Rick, a 21-year-old U.S. Marine stationed in Kuwait.But that doesn’t mean she can’t directly support her son and as many troops as she can who are on active duty overseas.Zwierzchowski, an ATM coordinator at Alpine Bank’s data center in Rifle, recently spearheaded a care package program to provide much-needed supplies to military personnel stationed overseas. “Alpine Bank really encourages us to volunteer our time,” she said. Now, Alpine Bank in Rifle, at 100 E. 4th, is accepting donations inside its lobby during banking hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon). Donors may drop supplies into designated bins to be distributed to those in need, or Alpine Bank will send parcels to specific military personnel as long as donors include names and addresses with their supplies. Zwierzchowski came up with the care package idea after remembering a five-page list of supplies Rick and each of the 30 men serving under him were required to personally purchase before shipping out. Most of the items – such as toothpaste, batteries and sunscreen – need to be constantly replenished, an impossibility, without help from home, in the midst of a military conflict. It got Zwierzchowski thinking. “I know Rick was worried about some of his boys not being able to constantly keep up with their supplies,” she said. She shared her concern – and a list of some of the most-needed items – with other Alpine Bank staffers, and the care package program began.”In our building alone, we have about 10 people who have relatives who have been called up and are serving in the Middle East,” she said, adding that several people are volunteering to help with the project. Zwierzchowski first used Rick’s military address in Kuwait to send supplies, which he distributed to troops stationed with him. As the project has grown, volunteers are sending packages, not only to the Middle East, but to ships, to bases in Japan – “anywhere overseas where troops are involved in this conflict,” said Zwierzchowski. Zwierzchowski encourages those who have friends or relatives serving overseas to contact her (at 625-7034) with addresses the bank can use to send supplies. “We sent supplies to a young fellow with Special Forces stationed in North Korea,” she said. “Of course, we don’t know where he is, but those supplies will be at his base when he returns.” Although Zwierzchowski’s care package project has just started, she said the response from both Alpine Bank employees and the local community has been great.”Right now we have about six laundry baskets full of supplies to ship out,” she said. “And the Alpine Bank branch in Avon has called and expressed interest in getting involved, as well as our downtown Denver branch and our branch in Grand Junction.” She also said a local school class wants to start a pen pal exchange with some of the soldiers involved in the care package project. Zwierzchowski has firsthand knowledge of how much the troops overseas appreciate the effort. A recent letter from Rick to his parents reads, “Have you sent any packages yet? I hope so. We need a morale boost around here.””We’re all in this together,” Zwierzchowski said. “We won’t stop sending supplies over until our boys come home.” MILITARY CARE PACKAGESThe following items can be dropped off at Alpine Bank -Wet Wipes-Chapstick-toothbrushes and toothpaste-soap-toilet paper-baby/foot powder-sunscreen-hand sanitizer-insect repellent-Ziploc bags-black, calf-high socks-writing paper and envelopes-electrical tape-disposable cameras-black duct tape-playing cards-books-bandannas-food: hard candy, peanuts, jerky, gum, trail mix (nothing that will melt)-eyedrops-double A batteries-booksContact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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