Several local groups have teamed up to send holiday greetings to soldiers.

Several local groups have teamed up, for the first time ever, to send holiday greetings to soldiers, in an effort to remind them they are supported, all year, but especially during the holidays.

“The groups worked to fill as many stockings as possible,” Margaret Sullivan, whose son is in Boy Scout Troop 120 said. “What the Scouts have done is write personal letters, signed Christmas cards, made homemade Christmas ornaments and placed these along with other items into stockings.”

Under the leadership of Eric Turner, Scout Troop 120 decided to undertake the project with the support of adult leaders and co-leaders including Sullivan, George Laprade, Cheryl Evans, Abbygayle Saul and Heather Chapman. Scott Cady said Cub Scout Pack 120, was willing to help and soon leaders had also contacted and received help from the United Methodist Church Youth Group, God Squad which was the chartering organization for the Scouts and is under the leadership of Mike Tipton, Michael Brixley and Turning Point Church’s youth group also helped, along with Girl Scout Troop 120 under the direction of Angela Turner.

Sullivan noted that while the groups also obtained many donations from their friends and family, the effort would have been impossible without the help of local businesses,

Local businesses, like Shoe Sensation, HyVee, Lowe’s and WalMart also donated items to help fill the stockings. Store Manager Geri Fantazia said this is the first year the store has worked with the Scouts, though they do a sock collection every year for soldiers overseas. “It has been fun participating with the Scouts and other groups this year,” she said. “It is nice to see so many people coming together to make this so successful, in its first year.”

The youth groups and organizations also donated items to fill the stockings, which were donated by Braymer’s United Methodist Church’s women’s group, Pleasant Hills Lions Club of Braymer, Sullivan and Chapman.

“The youth gathered items they thought active front-line troops would like or need,” Sullivan said. “Then they wrote a letter to the service member and signed a Christmas card and added a photo of each group into the stocking. The stockings were packed with beef jerky, drink mixes, hard candy and cheese and crackers.

Together the groups prepared 97 stockings, which will be sent to active duty deployed troops, with the help of Chillicothe’s National Guard post which has pledged their support in paying the cost of shipping and ensuring troops overseas receive the items.

“None of us knew what to expect doing this, this year,” Sullivan said. “It has been a great response and ever since the beginning many people have said they wanted to be a part of this next year, and all of the youth seem to really want to do it as well.”

Recently the Scouts met with members of the National Guard during a drill weekend and presented the stockings to them, along with adult leaders and representatives of area businesses.

“This really has been a neat project and we are all excited to do it again next year,” Sullivan added.