Monday, October 31, 2011

Trunk-or-Treat For The Troops

By RaeLynn Ricarte - The Dalles Chronicle

A group of Dalles Wahtonka High School students will be passing out candy to children on Halloween and also providing information about how their parents can make the holidays merrier for military personnel serving overseas.

National Honor Society members have teamed up with the Gorge Heroes Club to collect items for care packages that will be filled on Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11. These boxes will then be shipped off to soldiers and Marines at primitive outposts on the front lines in Afghanistan.

“I’m just grateful for all of their service and this is a way we can give back,” said Logan McDowell, a senior and officer for the student-led organization who is organizing the event.

He and other members of the honor society will be handing out informational cards about the donation drive for the troops at their Trunk-or-Treat event on Oct 31 in downtown The Dalles. The teens will have vehicles decorated in themes, such as the Batmobile and a Clown Car, and a trunk full of candy to give to children trick-or-treating at local businesses from 3-5 p.m. on Halloween.

A collection is taking place in Hood River on Halloween, with high school students passing out the same cards that provide donation information and refer people with questions to the online site or Facebook.

Logan said several members of his family are veterans and he has heard enough of their experiences to know that support from home is important to service members stationed overseas. He said community members are invited to help students with the troop support effort by dropping off snack and hygiene items at the schools’ front office, 220 E. 10th Street, for the next two weeks.

The list of treats most requested by the troops include individually packaged, nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, hard candy, fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit bars, dried fruit, cheese and crackers, cookies and peanut butter with crackers.

Hygiene items most sought by those in combat zones include wet wipes, body and hair wash, razors, shave gel (no aerosol cans), foot powder, hand sanitizer, anti-fungal foot cream, high black socks, Motrin, and hand sanitizer.

Tegner Weiseth, the honor society advisor, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for seven years and said that, having an understanding of military life, he was supportive of the students’ decision to take on the project. He said the teens will be writing letters to the troops, either individually or as a class, and including these in the boxes they fill.

“My interest in this is as a veteran. I was only 18 when I enlisted and getting a care package from home really meant a lot to me,” he said.

Weiseth said if students get strong participation from the community, he plans to encourage Trick-or-Treat for the Troops as an annual activity