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Boonsboro High School Service Club collects cards for military

December 02, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - As a result of a pledge that no Boonsboro-area military personnel serving in Iraq will be forgotten this Christmas, the Boonsboro High School Service Club collected more than 6,000 cards, all of which are on their way overseas.

The club got a request from a local military support group to help collect 2,000 cards, but that goal was exceeded with contributions from students, staff and students at Greenbrier and Boonsboro elementary schools.

"There are about 30 different Boonsboro military personnel in Iraq who will be receiving a portion of these cards at Christmas," said club advisor Sally Poole. Many were recently given orders for extended stays in Iraq and will not be home for the holidays.

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"We set up boxes in all first period classes for the collection," said club member Maura James, 14. There also was a spirited competition between classes.

After all the cards and letters were collected, Poole and others went through each one of them just to make sure nothing inappropriate had been written. They were then bundled up for the next leg of their journey.

Many of the people who contributed cards also wrote letters, Poole said. "They were so heartwarming it made me cry."

Poole said one message said, "if you see (the military man's name) please tell him I love him."

This Christmas card effort was just one of many where Boonsboro High Service Club members learned of a need and reacted.

Four years ago, a group of students at Boonsboro High School expressed an interest in volunteering at the REACH Cold Weather Shelter in Hagerstown. From that, other projects beckoned and the service club was born.

As a bonus, the projects often count for community service hours, said club president Jessie Webb, 17. "Some people need hours but many of us have several hundred hours over the requirement," she said.

There are about 25-30 members of the club this year.

Each year, there is a clothing drive. Last year two truckloads were collected. Other projects include Habitat for Humanity, Girls Inc. in Hagerstown, and cleaning up the parks in Boonsboro and Keedysville.

Then there are special requests.

"We have collected money and clothing for burned-out families," Poole said. They even shipped track uniforms to a school in Bolivia that couldn't afford them.

"I joined because Jessie (Webb) made me," said senior Joseph Ellis, who admitted he liked it once he got involved. Now he serves as club treasurer and went along with other club members to last year's national convention for service clubs in Minnesota.

A sophomore, Susan Hornsby, 16, is in her second year with the club and is its vice president.

"I just love helping people, like feeding the homeless. It's a great program," Hornsby said.

The big push now is a clothing drive for Children in Need Inc., a Hagerstown-based group dedicated to making sure all children are properly clothed.

Needed are new socks and underwear, clean used clothing, coats and jeans of all sizes for school-age youngsters. They can be dropped off at the school all this week, Poole said.

Christmas in the Park is also coming up on Dec. 12 , for which club members dress up like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

As for the Christmas card collection results, Poole said she was amazed at the response.

"I never expected 6,000 would be contributed," she said.

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