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Care packages assembled for troops

November 30, 1999|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

LEITERSBURG

When he heard his family was planning to send him a care package, 1st Lt. Persey Shannon Bibbee had one request: That the troops in his unit be included.

Lynn Bibbee, of Leitersburg, says she doesn't know what her son was expecting. But it certainly wasn't this.

More than a dozen volunteers worked Sunday afternoon to fill 155 care packages with food, toiletries, batteries, writing tablets and other items to send to Bibbee, who is in the U.S. Army Reserve, and 150 people with whom he serves. They are at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.

Lynn said her son, who lives in Ohio, left for Iraq in May.

"We took it upon ourselves to do this," she said. "And it's become a job. But it's worth it. They really are forgotten."

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Lynn and her husband, Rick Bibbee, began planning to send the packages about a month ago. Since then they've worked to gather donated items from area churches, businesspeople and community groups.

Smithsburg Elementary School fourth-graders even made cards with handwritten notes for the troops.

"I'd love to see his face when he gets it," Lynn said. "He has no idea how much stuff we're sending."

Each care package contains crackers, beef jerky, hard candy, tea bags, coffee, nuts, gum, drink mixes for bottled water, pens, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues, soap, baby wipes, energy bars, granola bars and other items.

"They don't get much over there," said Rachel Bibbee, Persey Shannon Bibbee's sister.

The couple said most of the items are individual packages or small enough so the troops can take them with them when they are "on the go."

Rick said his son's only request was that the items be something consumable.

"Not something he's going to have to bring back with him," he said.

Lynn said the packages are filled with things that can easily be taken for granted, like cereal and hand sanitizer.

The couple will ship the care packages in 25 boxes.

"I'm excited about getting them together, and getting them there," she said.

Lynn and Rick said that as the war in Iraq drags on, and becomes increasingly unpopular to many people, the troops often are forgotten.

"It's like out of sight, out of mind," Lynn said. "But what we're hoping is that others do it for other units, too."

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