Efforts by the school system’s transportation department to help deployed troops is well known in Kuwait, so much so that a United States military chaplain contacted the department for assistance.
The chaplain provides services for approximately 1,200 soldiers. He is working on establishing a retreat where troops can go to unwind, have a cup of coffee, socialize or just enjoy some quite time. He has set up a tent for the area, but now needs help purchasing items that will make it enjoyable, comfortable, and a peaceful escape from the day-to-day hardships of battle and being separated from loved ones.
Through the annual Military Cookout held in March, the transportation department raises funds that are used to purchase gift cards to send to deployed soldiers. It is estimated that nearly $20,000 has been raised over the nine years the cookout has been held.
This year’s fundraiser netted over $2,600. Now $500 of the leftover proceeds from gift card purchases is being sent to the chaplain so he can get what is needed to put finishing touches on the retreat.
“I don’t know how he heard about us all the way in Kuwait, but I would love to know who told him,” said Linda Mosley, one of the cookout organizers. “This is a great way for us to end what has been a successful run. I guess you can say we are going out on a high note.”
This past March was the last fundraiser for Mosley and co-organizer Susan Voyles, two bus drivers who wanted to do something to help local residents who had been deployed, or those who had a family member assigned overseas following the events of 9/11.
“My son was in the military overseas at the time of the terrorists attacks. I knew he would be involved in the war on some level. This project was a way for me to keep busy and feel like I was doing something to help him, the other soldiers, and their families as well,” said Voyles.
Voyles and Mosley made the decision to step away from fundraiser due to the overwhelming amount of personal time involved in planning and organizing the event. Both cited they needed the time to spend with their families.
Although the Military Cookout is over, the two bus drivers are making sure that the transportation department does not forget about deployed military personnel. They are already organizing a drive among their colleagues to collect chocolate to send for Christmas.