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Group makes Iraq Christmas brighter

December 22, 2006|by DON AINES

Editor's note: In this 12-part series that runs through Christmas Eve, The Herald-Mail highlights people and organizations who make the holidays brighter for others.




Name: Laura Repp

Age: 38

Home: Williamsport

Occupation: Quality manager, Franklin County Managed Care

Organization: Secretary of the 324th Family Readiness Group

What did you do to make Christmas brighter? Repp and other members of the group collected donations of personal hygiene products and snacks for Christmas care packages to send to the men and women soldiers of the 324th Military Police Battalion, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Chambersburg, Pa., that has approximately 150 people deployed in Iraq. Repp said she and other members sought donations of shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, hand cream and other hygiene items, along with socks, snack foods and flypaper.

Why do you do it? Repp, whose son Brandon Caratozzola serves with the unit, said the people of the Family Readiness Group all have family members who are or have been deployed with the 324th, many of whom will not be home for the holidays.

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How can others help? Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the U.S. Army Reserve Center at 721 S. Sixth St. in Chambersburg. Donated items should be unwrapped and not liquids, and can be gender-specific since the unit has about 35 female soldiers serving overseas.

Comment: "If there's soldiers not getting packages, we want to know about it. That's what the Family Readiness Group is all about ... Are they getting the necessities and luxuries we take for granted? It's amazing what you take for granted until you get overseas."

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