Citadel Military College

Cadet care packages on their way to troops in Middle East

More than 500 care packages loaded with everything from candy, books and toiletries to cards and letters from cadets are headed to troops in the Middle East this holiday season.

With all the precision and discipline expected of them, cadets formed an assembly line Wednesday in Mark Clark Hall auditorium and in less than 45 minutes about 50 cadets packed the care packages. The hope is that the packages will brighten the holiday season for troops who cannot get home to celebrate with family and friends.

"The Corps has really rallied around this because many of us are thankful for what these men and woman are doing," said Cadet Chad Buckel. "Many of them, including myself, realize that one day it may be us out in the middle of nowhere, and we would not want to be forgotten."

Buckel came up with the idea for the care package project while talking with friends over dinner earlier this fall. Since then, he has worked to rally cadet support and seek out donations of money and items for the care packages from alumni, faculty and staff, businesses and other organizations.

The care packages included such things as playing cards, disposable cameras, CDs, books, footballs, games like checkers, spray bottles, batteries, brushes, stationary and envelopes, non-perishable snacks, soap, toothpaste and Christmas music.

The packages will be delivered in time for Christmas to the Army's 151st Signal Battalion and the USS Enterprise's Navy and Marines, which were adopted by the 1,910 men and women in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. The units all have Citadel graduates among those serving. About 250 service men and women in each unit will receive individual care packages and several unit wide care packages also will be delivered.

Buckel started with an idea and ended up with several benefactors and sponsors who donated money, supplies, gifts and services. Besides cadets they are Jon Prince of candy company, Citadel faculty and staff, the Georgia Chapter of the USO, Michael Rogers of The Citadel Alumni Association and the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps ROTC detachments at The Citadel. Also, Citadel Public Affairs, Bambi Conrad, Citadel treasurer's office; Shelton Milner, Citadel Cadet Activities; Col. Scoot Powers and Capt. Bill Bell, Citadel Commandant's Department and Nancy Lefter, choral director.

"We're grateful to everyone who helped make it possible for us to send our military service men and women a little holiday cheer," Buckel said.

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