HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Gail Zaslow (left) and John Gould seal boxes at the end of assembly line during the Troop Care Drive on Jan. 20. Hanscom’s Company Grade Officers Council sponsored and organized the event, held in Building 1105A. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Staff Sgt. Anthony Balester (left) and Airman 1st Class Zachariah Radford assemble boxes at the beginning of the assembly line at the Troop Care Drive on Jan. 20. Eighty-five volunteers from across the base assembled 581 boxes during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
by 2nd Lt. Amber DeRiggi
CGOC Troop Care Drive co-chair
1/27/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- From writing labels to packing boxes, 85 volunteers from Hanscom and the New England USO participated in the quarterly Company Grade Officers Council Troop Care Drive on Jan. 20. In all, 581 boxes - more than 6,000 pounds of goods - were shipped from the Bedford Post Office after the drive.
"We ship donated goods to help boost morale for our troops during deployments," said 1st Lt. Christopher Gamble, chair of the CGOC Troop Care Drive.
The drive, which takes place during the first month of every quarter , recruits volunteers from Hanscom and the surrounding community in support of deployed Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines from the Boston area.
Volunteers came from the New England USO, 66th Security Forces Squadron, Air Force Research Laboratory, the 46th Test Squadron Detachment 1 and several other base offices.
Col. Jeffrey MacEachron, the CGOC sponsor and Hanscom's inspector general, was instrumental in making sure the troop care drive was successful and appreciated the efforts of the volunteers.
"Great job by our CGOs and supporting volunteers. What an incredible effort!" said Colonel MacEachron, in an e-mail to the troop care drive committee. "Thank you for your outstanding efforts."
While the CGOC drive focuses primarily on Hanscom's deployed troops, it also reaches out to other service members when goods are available. The majority of the care packages from the latest drive will be going to chaplains and Marine units.
Eight Marine company first sergeants based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., are among the deployed troops who were sent care packages last week. Names and addresses were gathered from the USO, a Marine exchange officer in the C2ISR Directorate and from a group of New Hampshire volunteers, known as the Soldiers Helpers, who also run periodic care drives.
"These men (and women) are deployed to some of the furthest reaches of Afghanistan and not close to any exchange services, so any assistance is very appreciated," Marine Corps Maj. Tony Barrett said.
More than 300 man-hours went into the planning and execution of the drive, and the committee gathered approximately 4,000 pounds of goods in addition to the supply of items they already had in storage. Monetary donations from local individuals and organizations were also collected in the months leading up to the drive.
Items shipped included toiletries, sports equipment, stationery, snacks, candy, chewing gum, toys, powdered drink mix, storage bags, magazines and much more.
According to Lieutenant Gamble, this drive went phenomenally well thanks to the outpouring of generosity from both donors and volunteers.
"It's about making an effort and making a difference in deployed troops' lives, not only from Hanscom, but nationwide," Lieutenant Gamble said. "It's showing you're thankful for their sacrifice. We help as many people and as much as we can. When we receive requests from these troops, we assist when supplies are available."
The next CGOC Troop Care Drive will take place in late April 2011. For further information or to volunteer at the next drive, contact Lieutenant Gamble at 781-266-1015.