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SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. – Support for U.S. troops in Iraq has an especially personal meaning at the Massachusetts Credit Union League. Francesca Szafranski works in the league’s Audit Services Department. Her husband John is with the 804th Medical Brigade serving in the war zone. When the league’s social committee, which traditionally has been very active in organizing charitable support during the holidays, learned Francesca’s husband was going to be deployed, it seemed a good opportunity to reach out and do something for Americans in uniform. Robert Kimmett, MCUL’s SVP of Public Relations and Marketing, explains the effort focuses on supplying articles that are hard to find when shopping isn’t as simple as stopping by the local Wal-Mart or 7-Eleven. “Stationery, personal needs are hard to come by while you are out in the field,” he notes. “Francesca spoke to her husband and got a list of items that would be useful.” The league is working to supply individual packages to members of the 804th. A Staples store donated shipping boxes. WB Mason supplied pens. AmSan donated a case of toilet paper. “Coordinating the whole exercise is something of a challenge, and I know the folks here have spent a lot of time doing it. But it pales in comparison to the challenges the soldiers and the people in the medical brigade are facing,” Kimmett says. “It has been important to make sure everything is done properly because there are security concerns. You want to make certain it’s done right so it doesn’t become complicated for someone on the other end.” For example, to send mail you need the name of a specific service man or woman. So the league has the names of everyone in the 804th. Liquor and items that melt are some of the items that are off the list. A connection with someone actually deployed has helped keep the effort on track and meeting actual needs. Chaplains, Family Readiness offices and other military support sources can provide guidance. So if you want to help, do your homework, Kimmett says. [email protected]

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