Julia Townsend, an Idaho Falls resident wanted to send Christmas care packages to her son and other soldiers stationed In Iraq. She originally hoped to send 60 Priority boxes, but with the help of her employer and co-workers at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the project expanded out into the community and she was able to secure enough donated goods to send 260 care packages.
Julia Townsend conceived Operation Iraqi Star, an INL project to provide Christmas gifts to US troops of the 25th Infantry Division recently deployed to the war zone in Iraq.
"This really strikes you hard when it is your child who is going overseas," Townsend said. "As a mom I can no longer protect my son. Instead, he is protecting me. So I am doing this for all the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who have relatives serving in Iraq. We just want them to know how loved they are and how very much we miss them."
The project grew with the help of local businesses and residents, and her original projection of 60 care packages grew to 260. Townsend was in contact with Rory Scott, Manager Customer Services throughout the process to make sure that mailing standards were met.
Local television News 8 covered the story as the 260 APO/FPO Flat Rate Priority boxes were delivered to the Eagle Rock Station for processing. Service and Sales Associates Bill Lynes and Mary Miller processed the custom forms and packages. The packages are being sent to three different soldiers who will give out the packages and play Santa to their fellow soldiers.
"Our employees didn’t mind the extra work," said Rory. "We were caught up in the spirit of giving, and were happy to help!"
Townsend doesn’t want the soldiers to feel forgotten until next Christmas, so she plans to do a similar project for Valentines Day. Click here to read the News 8 story and see the video. You may not be able to view the video on a Postal computer, but you can view from a home computer.