Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

High Point residents' yellow ribbons help ease military overseas blues

From left, Carol Walker, Juanita Smith and Dolly Bridgeman work at the High Point community center Tuesday morning to fill care packages heading to military personnel overseas. The group, organized by Dee Whaley (not pictured), has started a program called “Pennies for Postage” to help pay postage for packages; those donating postage receive a yellow ribbon to tie to their mailbox to help show their support of the troops.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

From left, Carol Walker, Juanita Smith and Dolly Bridgeman work at the High Point community center Tuesday morning to fill care packages heading to military personnel overseas. The group, organized by Dee Whaley (not pictured), has started a program called “Pennies for Postage” to help pay postage for packages; those donating postage receive a yellow ribbon to tie to their mailbox to help show their support of the troops.

SPRING HILL — Like kids bounding down the stairs on Christmas morning or jumping from bed on Easter to see what goodies they got, American military personnel anxiously anticipate the surprises in every gift box they receive from folks back home.

But getting these goodies to the military is not free, or even cheap.

Since February 2008, a group of High Point residents have been have been sending 10 boxes weekly, for a total of 1,875 to date. Stuffed inside are socks, breakfast items, coffee bags, coffee creamer, greeting cards, baby wipes, sanitary napkins, reading materials and various treats, said Lucy Basta, who coordinated the project at the suggestion of neighbor Dee Whaley.

High Point residents have given freely of goods, but "postage is killing us," Basta said. Each week's mailing costs $109.50. While the High Point Social Club gives $150 a month for the mailings, it's not enough.

So, the box volunteers have branched into a new money-raising effort that also recognizes givers. They are offering yellow ribbons, for any donation, to tie around mailboxes, showing their military support.

Their first goal was to tie the community of several thousand mailboxes in ribbons. But others, beyond, learned of their effort and wanted to join in.

Stuart Symington Smith, president of Register Chevrolet Oldsmobile kicked in the first $50. The women bought the first bolts of ribbon from Sherwood Florist, which owner Tracy Mills supplied at cost.

Snipping the weatherproof ribbon into lengths and carrying them around the community with a collection jar, the women garnered $300. "That's how much his (Smith's) donation multiplied," said Basta.

Then, she added, Gus Guadagnino, owner of Joni Industries and a generous contributor to community causes, proffered $200, all of which will go to package postage. "We're going to tie a yellow ribbon on his door," Basta said.

An $8 bolt of ribbon yields about 36 pieces. The group bought an initial six bolts. "We've only scratched the surface," Basta said, with the campaign to continue through May and culminating in High Point's Memorial Day celebration.

Anyone people who would like to contribute to the effort — from pocket change to dollar bills — and receive a ribbon can contact Basta at (352) 597-1113.

Their donations will help the group continue to send small reminders of home to troops in far-flung locations. Uniquely special among the gifts in the boxes are small pillows sewn and stitched with inspirational messages, such as "Life by the yard is hard. Life by the inch is a cinch." The community's Share-A-Craft group creates the pillows.

A recent mailing to troops included candies left over from High Point's Easter egg hunt and celebration. A plush baby bunny was stuffed into a box. Basta related that a grateful letter from a box recipient said the Afghans used to avoid the U.S. troops but warmed considerably when the military gave out treats, especially to the children.

Dee Whaley, 78, who began the effort, said it springs from her heart. The wife of a former military serviceman and mother of two sons who served added, "If it's military, I'm a mush. I have a soft heart."

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

High Point residents' yellow ribbons help ease military overseas blues 05/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Bruno Mars' charisma glitters like gold at Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Nothing in this world should be as easy as Bruno Mars makes it look. Not singing, not dancing, and certainly not playfully seducing more than 17,500 starry-eyed Tampa fans with one of pop music’s best bands at your back.

    Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police were investigating what they were calling a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night, near the location of two fatal shootings last week.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7

    College

    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.