Care packages en route to Iraq

As impressive as the 164 boxes of goodies, clothes, baseball caps, books, Bibles, local-style snacks and other stuff collected from every post office on Kaua’i and packed up Saturday for shipment to Iraq were, it was the letters from young Kauaians that tugged at the combat veteran’s heartstrings.

“Some of the letters from the kids, you would have to be a moron not to get a tear in your eye,” said retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Adam Britto of Kapa’a.

“Their letters were just beautiful,” said Britto, who participated in the packing party at the Kauai Veterans Center on Kapule Highway in Lihu’e on Saturday.

He and other members of the Kauai Veterans Council got lots of help from employees of the U.S. Postal Service on the island, who came with boxes and customs paperwork, filled out the declarations, helped pack the boxes, then hauled them away for mailing, Britto said.

“Everything that was needed was there. It just went really smooth,” he said. Britto said he was “totally amazed” that the U.S. Postal Service employees, mostly postmasters, came to the packing party, and helped out as much as they did.

They loaded the packages onto trucks, and took them across Kapule Highway to the shipping and receiving post office building near Lihu’e Airport, for mailing to Iraq.

The packages are on their way to Iraq, to Hawaii Army National Guard citizen-soldiers from Kaua’i who are scheduled to leave Iraq for home in January or February.

The packages will arrive before the holidays, estimated to arrive during the second week of December, and will be very much appreciated, Britto said from experience.

With 25 years in the Army, Britto said he spent many Christmases in combat, and knows what it means to receive a box before the holidays.

Kauaians responded to appeals for various snacks, toiletries, baseball caps, and other items that were dropped off last week at post offices from Princeville to Kekaha.

Workers at the smaller post offices are the ones who received the most donations, he said.

“I’m just so stoked.”

Lots of books, including around 80 pocket-sized Bibles that are also always appreciated by men and women serving abroad, are also on their way to Iraq, he added.

On the day of the packing party, Britto went on KQNG radio to make an appeal for people to bring lunch down to the Kauai Veterans Center for the volunteers from various veterans organizations, including Dr. and Mrs. Quentin Belles, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cruz, Johnny Rabasa (a veteran and retired post-master on Kaua’i), members of the Holy Cross Catholic Church youth group, and others.

Listeners responded with enough hamburgers and cheeseburgers for the whole gang, he said.

Groceries that were donated that couldn’t be shipped because they were perishable or would melt will be given to members of Kaua’i families who are having hard times with their other family members deployed, Britto explained.

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