Nicquelle Fortin is on a mission across Vermont to support troops serving overseas this holiday season. She's busy collecting donations from businesses who donated to her Vermont Supports Our Troops Project. Cabot Cheese donated 400 insulated coffee mugs.
"We couldn't send cheese; it's perishable. So, we went with the cups so they could use them and enjoy home while there are there," said Susan McMath of Cabot Cheese.
The woman from Barnet leads the annual gift drive in honor of her late husband, U.S. Army Lt. Joseph Fortin. He was killed by a bomb blast in Iraq in 2009, just a year after the high school sweethearts got married.
"It's not just about him, it's about all of them," Nicquelle Fortin said. "They put their lives in harm's way every single day and we forget about them."
Last year, the project sent 240 gift packages and 4,000 handmade Christmas cards to servicemen and servicewomen overseas.
"Whoever gives me an address, whoever wants one, I'll send them one," Fortin said.
The packages include a wide variety of items, like food, supplies, games and other small gifts. When the gifts are sent to entire units, a small Christmas tree is also included. This year, some lucky soldiers will receive socks from Cabot Hosiery, which donated 200 pairs.
"Very, very worthy and it was exciting to us, because that is what we do here, we do produce socks for our military. It just seems like a very nice connection," said Rick Carey of Cabot Hosiery.
The community is invited to help pack the boxes this Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Elks Club in St. Johnsbury. They donated the facility for the event. The goal is to fill 400 care packages for the men and women serving our country this holiday season.
"Think about if you were away from home and you got a little box, just a little box, that had something from home, something from someone who cares about you, it just brings as mile to your face and you feel loved, and that's what the holiday is about," Fortin said.
A volunteer mission here at home to spread holiday cheer to our troops on a mission thousands of miles away.
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