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Lance Cpl. Riley J. Ellinwood, 20, a vehicle commander with Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, carries a care package from his family in Houston back to his room at Camp Hit, Iraq, Oct. 31. Care packages filled with pictures, magazines and books have been providing a reminder of home for the Marines deployed with the battalion.

Photo by Cpl. Shawn Cummins

Care packages help remind Marines of home

1 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Shawn Cummins

Every week dozens of packages marked with the names of Marines within the battalion flood the mailroom floor.  These packages all look the same from the outside, but inside are bits and pieces of the lives of the Marines of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-5.

Care packages containing food, toiletries and trinkets to remind service members of home have been raising the morale of service members for decades.  Many of the care packages that the Marines at the battalion receive come from people the Marines have never met, which makes the packages even more special.

“(Care packages) just remind you of home; (they’re) something to look forward to,” said Lance Cpl. Brandt D. Warman, 19, a machine gunner  from Del Norte, Colo., with Combined Anti-Armor Team White, Weapons Company, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines. “It’s like Christmas every time you get one. It’s cool whenever you get a package from someone you don’t know.”

The packages help more than just the deployed service members.  Mothers from across the nation seem to find happiness in helping bringing comfort to their Marines and the Marines serving with their son thousands of miles from home. 

“A lot of my family sends packages to my friends, too.  Usually they take turns picking a different (Marine) in the platoon,” said Lance Cpl. Charles Q. Dorr, 21, team leader, 1st Platoon, Company L, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines, from Santa Ana, Calif..  “It's a morale booster.  Knowing that it came from home and from the family feels good.”

Lori Tovrea said that after losing her 21-year-old daughter in a car accident, she wanted to do something in her memory, and donating to deployed service members made her feel better.  Tovrea has been donating care packages and her time to deployed service members for four years.

“It is the most wonderful feeling knowing that I am helping those fighting for our country,” said Lori Toyrea in an e-mail. “I had a interesting conversation with a person a couple of years ago. He really thought that it was great that I would go do car washes, sell hot dogs and do raffles for people I don’t even know (to raise money for care packages).”

Toyrea said she knows what to send with the help of her nephew, who was previously deployed to Iraq, and asking others who have sent care packages to deployed Marines.

Seeing the pictures that the Marines send back and knowing that she has made a difference means a lot to her, she said.

Some take giving even further than just sending care packages. 

Vicky Mohler started donating when her son, Lance Cpl. Aaron D. Mohler, deployed to Iraq twice in 2005 and 2007.  Her donating turned into an organization when she started Support America’s Armed Forces.  Mohler’s organization has sent care packages to thousands of service members who are deployed away from home.

“There is such a feeling of self worth knowing that a simple card or something that reminds them of home can make an impact on how they keep a positive attitude and stay focused,” said Mohler.