Whether or not they agree with the war in Iraq, many people feel the need to show support for the men and women who are sent overseas to fight.
According to Carol MacLeod, chair of the Special Events & Community Building Council for the Staff Senate, this feeling was what inspired her to initiate a drive to support the New Jersey National Guard members who were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Through the charity event co-sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate collected over 11,400 minutes in calling cards and many magazines to send to the troops.
The College worked alongside the New Jersey National Guard Family Assistance Center to create a successful collection effort. The organization, located in Lawrenceville, asked the College for two items that were greatly needed by U.S. troops: calling cards and magazines.
According to Christine Cullen, SGA executive president, the executive board of SGA collected money from the organization’s members to buy some cards to get the fundraiser started.
“It was for a good cause and we just helped getting the word out to students,” Cullen said.
In a mass e-mail sent to the co-sponsors of the events, MacLeod said, “These cards allow the National Guard to successfully communicate to their families during this troubled time. It also shows support for family members, while their loved one is deployed serving our community, state and country.”
Peter Manetas, director of development in the office of Development & Alumni Affairs, was one of several staff members who helped MacLeod with the collection.
“We had a terrific response, and just as importantly, I’m sure it raised everyone’s awareness regarding the National Guard, a truly volunteer group of individuals,” Manetas said in an e-mail. “They, along with their loved ones, make a tremendous sacrifice on behalf of their country and it’s our hope that this small gesture demonstrates our appreciation.”
MacLeod attempted a similar effort last year, which was met with limited success.
“Last year we collected under 10 cards, so I would say that we were more than successful (this year), and it was very much appreciated by the National Guard,” MacLeod said. “They even invited me down to meet the men that were being deployed.”
Stephen Pruser, junior business administration major and infantryman in the New Jersey National Guard, agreed that the effort will be greatly appreciated by the troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’ve never been deployed overseas, but I have been separated from my friends and family during basic training,” Pruser said. “Whether it be a letter, magazine, care package or calling card, every little bit helps the morale of the soldiers. Just hearing the familiar voice of a loved one when you’re in a strange new place can give you the boost you need to make it through difficult times. I commend Carol MacLeod and appreciate the hard work that she is putting forth for our heroes in harm’s way.”
Although she is not currently planning another collection effort, MacLeod said that she would be more than happy to do so in the future. She also recommended that any student interested in organizing their own collection contact the New Jersey National Guard Family Assistance Center. A list of phone numbers for various centers across New Jersey can be found at www.njslom.org/Family_Assistance_Centers.pdf.
“The National Guard are our neighbors who believe in helping out,” MacLeod said. “They offer their time and so much more to help their community. It was a pleasure showing them support from the College.”