Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 223 in Santa Rosa, California, will again help coordinate Sonoma County’s annual giving tradition, Healdsburg S.O.S. (Support Our Soldiers) in January. Healdsburg S.O.S. assembles and sends care packages to overseas military troops each January, continuing a tradition the town launched during the Korean War.
The entire community gets involved in the effort, which was re-established by local Mary St. Clair when her son went on active duty in Afghanistan in 2004. Individuals and businesses contribute, with Chapter 223 collecting and paying all shipping costs for about 300 decorated boxes, each of which weighs 10–15 pounds.
Also participating are the Healdsburg Rotarians, the Puma Springs Winery, the Geyserville Kiwanis, the Ladies Auxiliary of Alexander Valley, St. John’s Catholic School, local fire and police departments, and more. Care packages contain hand-knit helmet liners, tube socks, snacks, handwritten notes and more.
“I said I would do this until there were no more troops fighting,” St. Clair told the Healdsburg Tribune. “Some people have forgotten that we still have soldiers in faraway places and in wars. The soldiers are really, really grateful. I didn’t think we’d still be doing this for 10 years or more, but too many people want to help and be involved.”