Categorized | Featured, Volunteering

Rotary kicks in goodies for Gimlets

Capt. Oliver and some of the 90 care packages. (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Kona)


Rotary Club of Kona sends care packages to Hawaii Based, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment stationed in Iraq.

The Rotary Club of Kona, with the help of Capt. Aaron Oliver, filled boxes with goodies for the Hawaii-based soldiers of the 21st Battalion, 21st Infantry (AKA the Gimlets). The club adopted the Gimlets, before they left for Iraq.

Oliver, Rear Detachment Commander, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry helped organize the care package project and explained to Rotarian volunteers why the care packages are so important.

“With the current focus on the campaign in Afghanistan, and the recent coverage of the end of combat ops in Iraq, this will really help the individual soldier understand that people back in Hawaii still remember and think of them on a daily basis,” Oliver said.

With that in mind, Rotarians gathered enough goods to pack 90 boxes to be shipped to Iraq.

Rotarians accomplished this feat using a combination of funds raised through the Mitsubishi Electric Golf Tournament, funds and items donated by individual Rotarians, and generous donations from the community.

Starbucks in Kona donated 360 packages of Via Coffee, Hershey’s Mauna Loa donated more than 700 individual packages of macadamia nuts, and T.Hara stepped in by selling us hand sanitizer and wet wipes in bulk, for a savings of $200.

The boxes should arrive in Iraq in time for Thanksgiving. When the soldiers open the boxes they will find items they need including hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and Tums, as well as things they will enjoy such as DVDs, playing cards, magazines, coffee, mac nuts, granola bars, mints, gum, mac and cheese, ramen, cookies, corn nuts and hard candy.

Rotary is proud to include our keiki in this project as well. In the boxes, the soldiers will find letters from students at Kahakai Elementary School, Waikoloa Elementary School, and Kona Christian Academy. During the Rotary of Kona’s Keiki Vision and Dictionary program, the third graders took some time to write letters.

Oliver said when he was deployed, he too received cards from school children he didn’t know. He told the Rotary volunteers how moved he was by the letters, and that he will never forget them.

The Rotarians couldn’t have packed and labeled 90 boxes without the members of the award-winning Kealakehe Interact Club who, for two hours, wrote labels and filled in international shipping forms.

“We came because we wanted to help pack boxes for the soldiers, because they give so much to us,” said Victoria Sherwood, president of Kealakehe Interact Club.

When Community Service Chairwoman Renee Kraft and President-Elect, Mike Kelly arrived at the post office with the boxes, they were met by cheers from postal employees and customers alike, who appreciated the support for the soldiers.

It turns out that 90 boxes is the record for number of boxes shipped at one time from the Kona Post Office.

The Rotary Club of Kona is a community service organization. Rotarians provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

The Rotary Club of Kona meets every Thursday at noon at the Royal Kona Resort.

(Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Kona)

(Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Kona)

(Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Kona)

(Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Kona)

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