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Project targets items for soldiers

Successful community participation in prior Brookhaven PostOffice-sponsored Operation Letters From Home and Operation PhoneCards events has opened the door for a third project: OperationMaking the Difference.

Saturday will be a kickoff event for the project dedicated tosending care packages to military personnel in Iraq.

“The reason I named it Operation Making the Difference is that Iwant to make a difference,” said United States Postal ServiceBrookhaven Station Manager Serrina Waters.

Saturday’s event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the West Station onBrookhaven Street with the arrival of the Patriot Guard Riders. Atleast 40 motorcycle riders from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippiwill be participating in the day’s events.

“I was totally amazed that someone would agree to drive fromArkansas to participate,” Waters said.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a national motorcycle group thatparticipates in military funerals at the request of families, willbe on site to meet people and talk about their organization.

The post office will provide flat rate boxes that can be filledwith items to send overseas, as well as collector’s envelopes.Waters designed a patriotic envelope that will be sold for $9. Thecollector’s item will come in a plastic cover with a Statue ofLiberty stamp.

“The whole $9 will go toward purchasing postage to send the carepackages to Iraq,” Waters said.

Local organizations and churches are encouraged to come and pickup flat rate boxes to fill with items requested by the soldiers.Lists of items and shipping regulations will be provided.

Postal employees will also be collecting items such as hardcandy, socks, lotion, powder, shampoo, razors, sun block, bug spraywipes, snack foods, playing cards and game and puzzle books for thecare packages.

The Brookhaven post offices are still collecting letters andphone cards for Operation Letters From Home and Operation PhoneCards. So far, over 125 phone cards and 500 letters have beencollected for the solders.

“These men and women are making such a huge difference in ourlives. We need to make a difference in theirs,” Waters said.

Waters began each of the current and past projects with one goalin mind: to make a difference.

“My deal is that if you go through life to get from point A topoint B and you don’t do anything, it takes away from everybodyaround you as much as it takes away from yourself,” Waters said.”If you go through life and you don’t make a difference, it’s awaste.”