Courthouse co-workers challenge community to care

Published 10:55 pm Monday, July 7, 2008

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
When Carla Redfearn was deployed with her National Guard unit to Iraq in 2003, a care package from her fellow employees at the Escambia County Courthouse meant a “touch of home.”
Since her return, Redfearn and her co-workers have continued to support the troops by sending more packages.
The appreciation of those receiving the items were recognized when a package was sent to Lt. Col. Kerry Brit, who is the son-in-law Vivian Thomas, who also works in the tax assessor's office. The office received an American flag and a plaque. The flag had been flown over Synerson Base Headquarters of the Combined Joint Special Operation Task Force at the Arabian Peninsula in Baghdad, Iraq, earlier this year. The flag and plaque have been proudly displayed at the Reappraisal and Mapping Office at the Escambia County Courthouse.
The employees of that office have continued to put together care packages to send to the soldiers in Iraq.
Downing said her co-workers want others in the community to get involved, too.
The group sent three packages week before last, three last week and are sending three more this week. One of those boxes contains socks for soldiers who are moving around a lot and are not close to camps. Everyone at the courthouse pitches in to pay the postage.
To help out, supporters can go online to www.usps.com and get an APO box, the cheapest way to send the packages. The soldiers' wish list contains Crystal Light, sunflower seeds, Beanie Weenies,Vienna sausage, crackers, magazines, peanuts, crossword puzzles, gum, candy, cookies, snack pies, cakes, razors, toothbrushes, dental floss, soap, body wash, Ziploc bags, combs and brushes, deodorant, chapstick, baby wipes, insect repellent wipes, socks-footies, t-shirts (tank tops), wash cloths, Shampoo/conditioner, nail file/clippers, Flip Flops or sandals (size large or x-large), body powder, cards-phase 10, Jello snack cups, blank greeting cards/writing paper, fruit roll-ups, Pop Tarts, sunglasses, Q-tips or cotton balls, large cloth size handiwipes, hand sanitizer, Kleenex and DVDs of current movies.