Angels brought joy to deployed soldiers this Christmas

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A few weeks ago, hundreds of boxes filled with Christmas goodies were sent to Mississippi National Guard Unit deployed in Afghanistan.  Those treats arrived just in time for Christmas morning.

Now, members of the 1108th TASMG Army National Guard Unit based in Gulfport are sending thank you's back.

The local effort had a big impact on the soldiers' Christmas.

Pictures of the soldiers holding some of the Christmas gifts and goodies from home said it all, big smiles on 218 soldier's faces.  "They were amazed at the number of boxes that they received," said Peggy Davis.

Peggy Davis's husband James is a member of the 1108th.

The Army National Guard Unit is responsible for military helicopter repairs and maintenance. The sergeant first class has been deployed in Afghanistan with the unit since September and often uses Facebook to send messages home.

"I got to Skype with my family this morning and watched the grandkids open their gifts, not the same as being there but technology does help in small ways. Thanks to all of the soldiers angels who sent goodies," said James Davis in his Facebook post.

The Hancock County Chapter of the Soldiers Angels organization teamed up with the American Legion Post 77 in Waveland to box up the Christmas gifts, baked goods and decorations.

"It sort of brightened me because he's one of these that don't like to decorate so when he got them and he decorated his room it was like where is my James," explained Peggy. "It showed me that he wasn't depressed about being away from home because the holidays is always the hardest time for any of the soldiers. And to know he actually put in the effort to put up the decorations made me know he's ok."

One of the Soldiers Angels members is Jeanne "Granny" Graeser.  "I got many notes about that, they were amazed at so many letters, so many Christmas cards and so many gifts came through," said Graeser.

Granny Graeser started Operation Christmas For deployed soldiers three years ago.

Peggy Davis remarked, "My greatest worry was that there may have been a soldier that doesn't have the support like my husband. And it's those soldiers I am most appreciate of the Soldiers Angels. Because not every soldier have the support like I give to my husband. Through the Soldiers Angels every soldier got something for Christmas."

It cost more than $750 to ship the Christmas boxes to the unit.

Next year, the American Legion Post 77 hopes to get a military plane headed to the area to play Santa and deliver the gifts.

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