Donations sought for overseas troops
As the holiday season quickly approaches, one local man wants to make sure Central Wisconsin residents are not forgetting about the men and women overseas who don’t always have all the luxuries civilians take for granted.
Ken Tesch, a farmer in the town of Holton, has started a grassroots collection drive for soldiers stationed in the Middle East. His daughter, Kathryn, is a staff sergeant in the Air Force, and is stationed at a forward operating base in Qatar, where soldiers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines pass through on their way to other bases throughout the region.
The base doesn’t always have enough personal hygiene products for the large amount of people who come through, so Tesch and his family are planning to send as many care packages as they can muster from items donated by local residents.
“This is not about me. This is not about my daughter,” Tesch says. “It’s about all the people who serve our country.”
Collection sites have been set up at The Coffee Coop in Colby, Farm Credit Services in Medford and Sam Scott Rural Insurance in Medford.
Needed products include soap, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant, baby wipes, dental floss and feminine products. They are also looking for items the soldiers can use for entertainment, like playing cards, dominoes, checkers, etc.
Snacks such as licorice, protein bars, beef sticks, jerky, instant coffee and flavored water packets are also welcome. Homemade cookies and Christmas cards are also appreciated, Tesch said.
“Girl Scout cookies travel well, from what I’ve been told,” he added.
A good pair of socks or other basic articles of clothing could also be a good gift for troops away from home, Tesch said.
Liquids need to be double-bagged in order to meet postal regulations, unless the items are already packaged in bulk. Tesch said they’ll accept items in whatever amount people can donate.
“We appreciate everything, from the smallest item to the biggest,” he said.
The items are being collected from now until Dec. 2. Tesch said he hopes to ship out the packages by the following day, Dec. 3, so they arrive before Christmas.
If you would like to donate directly or help cover the cost of shipping, call Ken Tesch at 715-465-0477.
Jeanine Tesch, Ken’s daughter-in-law, said the family will be sending the packages to her sister-in-law, who will distribute the items to others at the base.
“Kathryn has a great support system at home and receives many packages from friends and family, which she shares now with men and women she works with,” Jeanine said. “Many others overseas do not have that kind of support system.”
Those who have donated so far include the Colby FFA Alumni and Donna Bruesewitz, she said. Ken said he wanted to start a collection drive for the troops because he’s “sick and tired of people in Washington acting like a bunch of four-year-olds,” and wants to refocus people’s attention on the members of the military who leave their homes and risk their lives every day.
“I think we should show a little appreciation for the people who protect our way of life,” he said. “Freedom isn’t free, and these people are doing a service.”