Local Businesses Have Surprise for Troops - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/14/03

Local Businesses Have Surprise for Troops

Some soliders who are stationed in Kuwait are going to get an unexpected surprise this holiday season.  Employees at Northop Grumman started a coast-wide effort to help feed the soldiers who help protect our freedom.

Marilyn Quinn is the mother of a soldier deployed for close to a year. She wants to send him something special for Christmas since he's so far from home.

"But he said we don't have a lot of room, so don't send us Christmas presents. He said just send just send me a card, so I know you're thinking of me. He said, but the first thing I want when I get home is some seafood," said Quinn.

So like all mom's, she's going to give more than a card. She's sending her son what he wants--a taste of home.

"They've had the same things over and over. So I came back to the office and was thinking what can I do? What can I do?" said Quinn.

She talked with her co-workers at Northrop Grumman, and one meal blossomed into sending seafood and other treats to all three thousand soldiers at his camp.

But to feed all of these soldiers would take a lot of donations--and a lot of money. So first Northrop Grumman went to their employees and asked them to donate money for the Christmas dinner.

"And then when sent out to the employees and asked for money, I was totally overwhelmed at the amount we got," said Angel Giafaglione, the organizer for the shipment.

The total raised from just Northrop Grumman employees is more than $90,000 alone. That's so much money that they realized they had enough money to buy something else for the troops.

"We decided the next best thing would be to let these soldiers call home Christmas Day, said Marilyn Quinn.

"I was glad to be able to make it possible for the other soldiers to be able to call home and talk to their families," said Andy Kelly, a Northrop Grumman employee. "There're fighting the war,  keeping us safe, and we should pay tribute. We should be able to give back to them for all the hard work that they're doing over there," said Arthur Shanks, a Northrop Grumman employee.

"I know it's hard for them being away from their families especially during Christmastime and this is just to let them know we're thinking about them and hope they can home safe," said Wendy Bass, a Northrop Grumman employee.

"The message that's going with this package is you have not been forgotten. The war may be over officially, but you are still doing a very vital job to protect the freedom that we take some much for granted," said Quinn.

This proves a mother's work, especially at Christmas time, is never done.

Northop Grumman is one of more than a dozen companies sending the soldiers food and gifts. The trucks will leave Tuesday morning to deliver the dinner to Kuwait.

Claire Nelson

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