Spurred by the request of her brother serving in the Army in Iraq, a Thomson woman has come up with a way to help ease the tension of deployed service men and women.
Melissa Threlkeld, a member of Columbia County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6445 in Harlem, has started a drive to collect DVDs and DVD players to send to deployed troops.
Threlkeld said her brother Scotty is serving at a military encampment in Iraq that houses as many as 1,000 service men and women from many units.
"It was actually him writing and e-mailing all the time wanting us to send him this DVD and that DVD," Threlkeld said. "We got to talking and thought he can't be the only one."
Threlkeld said another soldier left his brother a television and DVD player when he returned home under the condition it would later be left for another soldier.
There is no gathering room for the soldiers to watch the movies together, so Threlkeld said the movies would go to stock a DVD library for soldiers to use.
Albert Spears, the adjunct quartermaster of the state VFW office, said programs such as the DVD collection are encouraged by the VFW Military Assistance Program.
"Such recreational items as DVDs, CDs, TVs, MP3 players and even computers are direly needed for diversions, comfort and quite simply, just a little piece of home and normalcy," Spears said. Such diversions keep soldiers from dwelling on thoughts of the war they are involved in.
Threlkeld said she started accepting donations Nov. 9 and by Nov. 12 she already had 60 DVDs including some from area video stores such as Video Warehouse and Movie Gallery, who have agreed to set up donation booths inside their stores.
"It is kind of overwhelming," Threlkeld said. "I really thought we'd have a good turnout, but I thought it'd be slow."
Donations of DVDs, small DVD players, TVs and monetary donations will be accepted at the VFW post at 6423 Wrightsoro Road near Harlem.
Some of the monetary donations will go toward purchasing popcorn to send along with the movies.
The deadline for donations is Dec. 15 as Threlkeld said she hopes to send the movies and supplies to the encampment for the holidays.
For more information or to make pick-up arrangements, call the VFW post at (706) 556-9194 or Threlkeld at (706) 597-3964.
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