HTii sends ‘care packages’ to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Post-Office

HTii packages at the Lexington Park Post Office addressed and ready to mail to soldiers.

Navy contractor HTii of Lexington Park, MD sent “care packages” this month to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan following a request from an employee’s former college classmate, whose husband is now a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

“She asked if we could do something for the people in his command,” said HTii software engineer Theresa Ford. “They’re scattered over several isolated spots in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Ford relayed the request to HTii President Dorothy Hammond, who said, “Of course we can.”

A Navy spouse, Hammond said the idea immediately struck a chord with her. “My husband went on many long deployments overseas, and he always said getting a package from home really made his day.”

The company’s first group package shipment was a learning experience, she said. “We were stumped at first about what to send to soldiers in the desert – so we asked our vets who’d been there.”

Retired Chief Petty Officer Bryant Joseph served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “We liked to get snacks that wouldn’t spoil, books, magazines, chap stick and baby wipes,” he said. “The paper in the portable johns was brutal.”

He added that the web site Military.Com has numerous suggestions on a page titled “What to Send to Someone Who is Deployed.”

3-pack

HTii staff sort goodies to go in the packages. (L-R) Bob Kaper, Dorothy Hammond, Bryant Joseph.

Another retired chief at HTii, Mike Bruns, also served in both countries. “Having been on the receiving end of others’ generosity, I can testify it makes a difference,” he said. “Everyone I know who got a package truly appreciated it.”

Collecting and packing the items was only the first step, Hammond said. “We spent a lot of time at the Post Office filling out forms – their addresses, our return address and customs documents – multiple copies for each package.”

To save time, she recommends putting all packages into one big box if recipients are at the same address, “but we couldn’t do that because ours were at different locations.”

HTii employees want to send more packages, but they’re hoping they’ll hear back from the soldiers first with specific requests, Hammond said. “The items in the first boxes were kind of a shot in the dark,” she said. “We included a letter asking them to tell us what else they needed, so we’re going to wait for their replies before packing up the next round.”