Medical Mutual ships packages to men and women serving the U.S.Written by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It is the simple things, like Baby Ruth bars or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, that we take for granted.
At least that is what Carrie Hassen and Brenda Beauregard have learned in the past couple of years. Their sons are serving in Afghanistan.
“You don’t realize — we have a store where you can go get anything you want, and they don’t have what we have,” Hassen said. “It’s something so trivial, but they’re protecting our lives and you want them to have everything.”
The two were surrounded by boxes Friday morning, stuffed with anything from socks and soap to Stephen King novels and notepads. Their employer, Medical Mutual, was preparing to ship off the last supply of care packages to employees’ relatives in the military.
Over the past two and a half weeks, the Toledo office collected enough dry foods, toiletries, playing cards and books to assemble 90 care packages. The treats travel to 11 people overseas and eight on bases in the country, said Mark Tooman, a communication manager for Medical Mutual.
Gazing into the parking lot through conference room windows sparked the idea. Senior Vice President Gary Thieman saw a man in military uniform step out of his car and he wondered how many Medical Mutual employees had relatives serving the country. He decided the company ought to do something to recognize them, he said.
A few weeks, rounds of email messages and some busy assembly line action later, Thieman watched the last of the packages get ready for takeoff.
“It was neat to see it all come together from a casual comment in a conference room to something that is hopefully doing some good,” he said.
Family members have already received the first round of goods. Hassen said her son called her to tell her that he and his fellow servicemen were able to share bags of candy —a rare treat for a base that does not have many choices in terms of sweets.
Both she and Beauregard never expected to become military mothers. Hassen’s son, Kevin, made the decision when he was 17, and she signed his paperwork kicking and screaming along the way, she said. On his 18th birthday, Kevin left for boot camp. Now he’s 24 and repairs radar equipment in Afghanistan, having been in Iraq prior.
Beauregard’s son, Ryan, was into paint balling in high school. Now, he is 20 years old and on the front lines of war.
“We’ve been learning a lot,” she said. “He always thought everyone should do something for their country.”
She’s learned that all too often people who don’t have relatives overseas seem to forget what is happening every day, she said. And she’s learned that every sound bite in the news about war or potential war sends her mind into a worrying state. Sometimes, she said, she just has to turn it off.
The Medical Mutual care package program is another way of communicating with loved ones, and feeling joy that they were able to send goods that could make one day just a little better. It also makes the two proud of the company they work for, Beauregard and Hassen said.