Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis helps Yolo Military Families support ‘our kids’

By Linda Smith and Kelly Wilkerson

Toothpaste and hand warmers. White socks and instant oatmeal.

For eight years now, volunteers from Yolo Military Families have lovingly packed boxes for deployed troops. Davis resident Cindy Schulze started it all in 2004, gathering with other parents at Baker’s Square restaurant for support and to send boxes to sons and daughters sent overseas.

But, as the wars continued in Afghanistan and Iraq, the addresses kept coming. Most often, it was a young man or woman with a Yolo County connection. But sometimes we got the address from a soldier or a Marine who told us, “This guy never gets mail. Can you send him something?”

A deck of cards and a dust mask. A granola bar and a can of tuna.

The job got too big for a small group, so we turned to the community. Offices, government agencies, schools and churches put out drop-off boxes. The Graduate and SaveMart allowed us to hold fundraisers inside and outside their doors, and the Davis Sunset Rotary Club stood behind grills at benefit dinners. Black Bear Diner let us camp out in its back room to plan the next activity.

Strangers wrote checks to pay for mailing costs. Birch Lane Elementary School student Sam Sands wheeled his wagon through his neighborhood for four years in a row to collect supplies. Davis post office staff members patiently walked us through the mailing process again and again, then made it personal by donating money out of their own pockets.

Sometimes we had special requests. A Medivac unit said it really needed soap and batteries. Troops deployed in areas so remote that their boxes were dropped off by helicopter needed items as basic as toothbrushes.

Community donations sent what they needed.

Instant oatmeal and a detective novel. Sunscreen and shaving cream.

The packing process is now a logistical marvel, with small items pre-packed in Ziploc bags and a volunteer behind each station. Military families, football players, Scouts, members of the UC Davis ROTC and others make an efficient assembly line that packs each box to the top with essentials and tiny luxuries.

Some of the ROTC students who’ve packed with us in the past are now on our holiday mailing list. Other boxes are headed for the hospital at Bagram Air Base and the transit center in Kyrgyzstan, the last stop before Afghanistan.

Some boxes are kept back because experience has taught us that, over the next month, families will contact us with the names of their newly deployed sons, daughters, grandchildren, roommates and colleagues.

And the process starts all over again in May as we prepare for a second round of boxes in honor of Armed Forces Day.

Ramen noodles and a notebook. Corn nuts and a thank-you card from a child.

Military families are strong, but they appreciate knowing they live in a community that supports its soldiers. Whether we know someone in the service or not, Davis residents know that it’s “our kids” who are in harm’s way, and who need to hear from home.

Yolo Military Families receives thank-you notes from two-star generals all the way down to a Marine from Davis who wrote, “It’s nice to still be remembered.” And, yet, when we thank community members for making this all possible, what we hear most often is, “Thank you for letting me help, for letting me be a part of this.”

With the war in Afghanistan scheduled to end in 2014, the mission of Yolo Military Families will change, but it will not end. This year, we’ll be taking a trunkload of supplies and food to the Fisher House at Travis Air Base, a place where the families of wounded warriors live until their soldier is well enough to return home.

The needs won’t end, and we know we can count on Davis to help us meet them. Thank you, Davis, for making our kids your kids.

— Linda Smith has been a part of Yolo Military Families since 2006. Her son Jason, a Davis High graduate, served two combat deployments. Kelly Wilkerson is a recent volunteer with the organization. Her son Joe Sturla, also a Davis High graduate, served one combat deployment.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 11 Comments | Gallery

     
    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

     
    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

     
    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 3 Comments

    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

     
    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

     
    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8