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Scout sends blessings in a box

December 13, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: This series runs during the 12 days before Christmas and recognizes those individuals and groups that make the holidays better for others.




marlob@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Devin Olden, 15, already has tapped into one of life's sweetest secrets: the more you give, the more you get.

A simple effort to send a Christmas care package to his older brother in Iraq has blossomed into an Eagle Scout project for the Clear Spring High School student who recently sent 130 holiday bundles to his brother's company in the war-torn country.

A Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 2 at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Devin said he worked for two months to collect money and items for the care packages.

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"Everything had to be donated. That is a requirement of any Eagle Scout project," Devin said.

He got letters with checks from Tennessee, Ohio and California, as well as locally.

"One California company sent me a check for $500."

With the money sent to him, Devin bought hygiene products, candy and gum, cookies, Christmas cards, letter-writing supplies and other items.

"I also learned that the military really needs shop rags over there, so I contacted several auto shops and they donated shop rags," Devin said.

Devin said the outpouring for his project has been overwhelming. Local grocery stores donated gift cards so he could buy items from the stores, he said. Several dentists sent checks and his neighbors in Cearfoss also were generous, he said.

Once all the items were collected, Devin got shipping boxes from the U.S. Post Office in Maugansville.

The boxes were assembled at the church Nov. 29, filled and readied for shipping, which included putting return addresses inside and outside all packages and filling out U.S. Customs forms listing everything inside.

A 2003 graduate of Clear Spring High School and Washington County Technical High School, Shane Olden, 19, is a U.S. Marine who went to Iraq in September and is due back in April. Since he's not coming home for Christmas, the Olden family is sending Shane's company a little Christmas tree, too.

"This whole experience has really boosted my Scouting morale," Devin said.

Tuesday: Doyle and Bertha Collins of Inwood, W.Va.

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