Coast Woman Doing Her Part To Help Troops In Middle East

While American troops put their lives on the line to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom, there are civilians risking their safety to serve the troops. One of those people is Earline Mitchell, a sales manager for the Army/Air Force Exchange Service.

To make sure troops can buy the little extras, the Service relies on volunteers set up stores where ever the military goes including the Middle East. Mitchell asked her boss if she could go.

Then on Monday she thanked another big supporter of our troops with a token of appreciation all the way from the Afghanistan. She gave Biloxi mayor A.J. Holloway an American flag that on Veteran's Day flew along with a United States plane making a dangerous mission over Afghanistan. Thanks to Mitchell, this symbol of freedom now belongs to Biloxi.

"The city of Biloxi is a big part our environment and our community," said Mitchell. "I think they've done a lot to help us out and we appreciate what they do for us."

Mitchell is doing her part to support American troops stationed in the Middle East. For the past four months she's put her life on hold to work at an exchange in Qatar, and she's done it willingly.

Mitchell's boss Joelle Lee said "She didn't have to do it, she's doing it because she wants to and when you want to do something, your work ethic and the way that you feel about what you do comes out naturally."

When Earline Mitchell volunteered to leave her post at Keesler Air Force Base to support troops in the Middle East, she says she wasn't that concerned about the dangers but her husband was.

"You must be out of your mind. Why would you want to go?," was Mitchell's husband first reaction. "But then she explained to me why she wanted to go and knowing her as I do, I blessed it," said Anthony Mitchell.

People who know Earline Mitchell best say they have no doubt her enthusiastic personality is rubbing off onto the troops.

"Everyday the troops come to me and say "Hey, we're glad you're here," said Mitchell. "Because if we weren't there they wouldn't have the opportunity to get crackers or whatever. So I enjoy doing what I'm doing."

Earline Mitchell will fly back to the Middle East on Thursday to finish the last two of the six months she volunteered to be there. There are three other Keesler Exchange employees working in Qatar.