2010-11-26 / Community

Operation Ho-Ho-Ho Comes To Town

Locals Collecting Items For Rockaway Soldiers
By Nicholas Briano

Captain Patrick Dowdell of Breezy Point at his alma mater, St. Francis de Sales School, last January. Dowdell was a 2006 graduate of West Point Academy. His father, a Woodside firefighter, died on 9/11. Captain Patrick Dowdell of Breezy Point at his alma mater, St. Francis de Sales School, last January. Dowdell was a 2006 graduate of West Point Academy. His father, a Woodside firefighter, died on 9/11. Old grammar school pals from Rockaway, now all grown-up, got together recently and thought of a way to thank a few former classmates who are currently serving overseas in the U.S. armed forces.

In particular they thought of the childhood friends they made while attending St. Francis de Sales school and wanted to thank them for their dedication and service in keeping this country safe and free.

As a result, local residents Timmy O’Brien, Deirdre Roberts, Tommy Smith, Juliette Geary and Bernadette Heeran are organizing “Operation Ho- Ho-Ho,” an event to be held on Sunday, December 5 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department at 29 Point Breeze Avenue to benefit a group of local soldiers close to their hearts this holiday season.

The organizers are asking for items to ship to the local Rockaway Beach and Breezy Point servicemen in time for the Christmas holiday.

The beneficiaries of the event, who are all between the ages of 24 and 30, include Army Captain Patrick Dowdell; Navy Lieutenant Thomas McDonald; Marine Captain Jason Neas; Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Brennan; and Army serviceman Keith Gallagher. The donations will be shared with all the men and women in their respective units, many of whom are currently serving in Afghanistan.

“Thanks to these boys we’re all able to spend the holidays here with our families,” one of the organizers, Deidre Roberts, said. “We wanted to find a way to thank them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.”

The groups of soldiers and organizers have continued to stay friends after all these years, Roberts said, and this is the way those on the home front have found to show their appreciation for what those overseas do.

Supply items that can be donated to the men and women include dry food snacks such as chips, pretzels, cereal bars, hot chocolate, tea and noodle soup to name a few. Cans and glass bottles cannot be shipped.

Travel-sized toiletries of all kinds are also accepted. They include but are not limited to, mouthwash, toothpaste, soap, bug spray, shampoo and deodorant.

The group could also send magazines, newspapers, playing cards, disposable cameras, notepads and pens. Clothing necessities such as undershirts, underwear, hats, socks and blankets are also accepted.

For a complete list of items that can be sent to service members visit www.give2thetroops.org for more ideas. For more information on the event contact Roberts at 917-648-6067.

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