After a fire in Afghanistan destroyed equipment and supplies for dozens of soldiers from West Michigan, a group of local veterans started collecting donations to send overseas. The response has been overwhelming, and now there’s just one problem – a huge shipping bill.
American Legion Post 459 in Grand Rapids sends supplies to troops overseas at least twice a year. The commander says they normally have time to plan and budget - but this time around, they needed help and they needed it fast.
The community stepped up and the post’s basement is packed – boxes and bags are stacked to the ceiling with linens, t-shirts, toiletries, towels, and much more.
“The folks here in this community have been splendid,” says Post 459 Commander, Rex Lambert. “There were two buildings ... destroyed by a fire and it took all of (the soldiers') supplies … all of their extra clothes, all of their flip flops - they use those when they’re showering.”
Hoping to help the 30 to 40 National Guard troops from the 126th Calvary in need, Lambert says they’ve collected enough supplies for nearly 500 soldiers.
“The army doesn’t have the budget to give these guys everything that they need,” Lambert says. “These are things that they need, these are things they deserve and it’s nice for us to be able to send it.”
But before they send the supplies, they need to raise roughly $6,000 to cover shipping costs, and they’re asking the community to help.
“It’s real exciting for (the soldiers) to get something – it’s like Christmas,” Lambert smiles. “In this particular instance, it’s going to be incredibly heartwarming (for the soldiers) to see what kind of love and support they get from West Michigan. We do care that they’re there, and what they’re doing for us.”
If you’d like to help cover the shipping costs, please call 616-690-2439 and ask for Rex.
Post 459 would also like to thank the following: Perrigo Company, American Legion Post 305 in Caledonia, Capt. Paul Ryan and the Fleet Naval Reserve, 5/3 Bank, United Veterans Council, Metropolitan Hospital, the dozens of people who donated supplied.