Operation Care Package Sends Comfort to Those Deployed
Volunteers for Operation Care Package ready boxes for pickup in the foyer of New England Chapel in Franklin. The 10 boxes packed last month will comfort soldiers deployed in Poland.
By J.D. O’Gara
Chaplain Bob Markunis, of Franklin’s American Legion Post 75, wants Franklin town members to know that Operation Care Package is back up and running. Last month, volunteers packed 10 boxes full of snacks, toiletries, books, magazines, and other items to supply comfort from home for soldiers deployed in Poland in the 325th Transportation Group.
As Chaplain Bob sees it, Operation Care Package has three main functions. The man of faith, who had miraculously close calls during his own time in the service, hopes to renew a faith in a higher power, “because I see it slipping away, and from my own experience, from what I’ve gone through, it’s been extremely valuable, just having fellowship with the different churches I have has strengthened me in my own time of need … if you inspire people, that’s a step forward.”
Second, he says, support for the troops is critical. Operation Care Package currently has been supported by New England Chapel, United Methodist and legionnaires, as well as other veterans, but Markunis envisions other community groups, becoming involved to show support for the young men and women deployed and far from home.
“Being deployed, as many years ago as I was, to hear from someone from the outside besides my family, to get hot chocolate from someone who doesn’t even know me, who wants to take care of me, means a lot,” says Markunis.
In addition to providing comfort for deployed military, Markunis also hopes Operation Care Package can provide comfort and aid to soldiers’ families.
“In many military families, their main breadwinners are not there. Their team is split up,” says Markunis. “We can help send them in the right direction, easing some of that stress. We can get them services they don’t even know about. If you don’t have your partner, you freeze up. We’ve got the resources, through the Veterans Services Officer, through the Legion, through the VFW, to relieve the burden of stress when an issue pops up.
Markunis encourages anyone in Franklin or surrounding ties to deployed soldiers to contact Shannon Nisbett, Franklin’s Veterans Services Officer, to connect the soldiers and their families with services to help them.
Operation Care Package is currently taking monetary donations, which can be sent to:
American Legion Post 75 Franklin
43 Main St., P.O. Box 42
Franklin, MA 02038
Att: Chaplain Bob Operation Care Package
“With the funds, we can go and purchase commodities,” says Markunis. Those with questions are encouraged to contact Chaplain Markunis, putting “operation care package” in the memo, at [email protected] .
Markunis hopes younger veterans returning from deployment will become involved in the Edward L. Grant Post 75 of the American Legion to continue the efforts to support their brethren and community. The post meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at the Franklin TV, 23 Hutchinson Street, Franklin, MA 02038. The next regular Post meeting will take place Wednesday, October 11, 2023.