Keeping local armed forces members in mind
by Lauren Thornton Tobin for the FCT
Soldiers all across the nation voluntarily risk their lives for the freedom of their families and the American people.
For some military men and women, sentiments from home make their time overseas easier to handle, while for others, it makes it more difficult.
Sgt. Richard Mashburn of the National Guard said during his tour in Afghanistan, the care packages sent by various churches and schools meant a lot to him.
“As far as cards, I got a few from kids at schools at Christmas and Valentine’s Day,” he said. “They usually write about the military and how we’re their heroes. It meant a lot.”
Mashburn said even though he rarely got random cards throughout the year, on holidays one soldier would get cards from home and give them out to the others.
“Random cards would help because the same (routines) become draggy,” he said.
“A package, no matter how simple, means a lot,” Mashburn said.
“Potato chips are amazing if you got them,” he said. “Depending on where someone’s stationed anything from toothpaste, shaving cream, razors—they were all appreciated.”
“Dried beans are good to send as well because there were slow cookers,” he said.
Among other places in Franklin County, Mashburn credits Spruce Pine Post Office for sending gifts and cards to those who serve overseas.
Mashburn said some gifts had a tendency to make him homesick, such as gifts from his children.
Sgt. Mashburn’s wife, Amanda Mashburn, said it meant a lot to her when others took it upon themselves to send cards and care packages.
“It’s hard for them to get good essentials,” she said, adding that her husband is on a special diet so some food wasn’t readily available at the commissary.
Sgt. Mashburn said for anyone who may be thinking of sending a care package, it’s best to cater to a person or group of people’s specific needs.