NTUA collects items for military care packages

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Oct. 28, 2013

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(Chris Burnside - Navajo Times)

VIDEO: Watch a view of the care-package effort in action.

(Times photos – Donovan Quintero)

TOP PHOTO: Donations were taken on Oct. 23 for the 2013 Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Military Care Package Project at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Window Rock.

MIDDLE PHOTO: A box of shampoo and other assortments of goodies start off the 2013 Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Military Care Package Project on Wednesday at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Window Rock.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Gilbert Ned Yazzie, of Blackrock, Ariz., fills out the paperwork needed for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to send a care package to his daughter, Gilvonna Yazzie, who is currently serving in Japan with the U.S. Navy.

For the past six years the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has been sending active-duty servicemen and women stationed around the world a little piece of the Navajo Nation.

NTUA held a public donation drive yesterday at the Navajo Nation Veterans Memorial Park so they could get the materials needed for their annual Military Care Package Program.

NTUA Human Resources Manager Paul Bemore said it was an event "where people can stop by and drop off not only their contributions to put in the care package, but they can also pick up a register form and register a family member who is serving somewhere in the world."

As long as the family members have a military address they would receive a package, Bemore added.

Last year NTUA was able to send out 190 packages, and this year they hope to send out at least 200.

"We try to make our packages unique from the reservation," Bemore added. For instance, they might include frybread flour from the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, or pi–ons during pi–on season.

"This is our contribution to our servicemen (and women) who are serving. It's just the thought that counts," said Rowena Benally, assistant human resources manager, adding that these care packages are just a way to let them know they are thought of and remembered during the holiday season.

The care packages are sent to every serviceman or woman registered with NTUA's program.

"They don't have to be Native American; we basically send packages to everyone," Benally said, adding that it's a good feeling just to send a personal package to someone far from home.

Blackrock, Ariz. resident Gilbert Yazzie showed up at the drive to have a care package sent to his daughter Gilvonna Yazzie, who is stationed in Japan.

"I'm really proud of her," Yazzie said, adding that he appreciates NTUA making these packages because she won't return until next year. "It's really important because they're fighting for our freedom."

Added Bemore, "A lot of people who are veterans or families who have had members serving during the holidays realize not everyone could come home during the holidays. Well, we're here celebrating someone who is standing watch in the world on our behalf. "It's really heartfelt for the service members to get this."

Yesterday's drive was the only public drive NTUA will host, but they will still be accepting donations and registration forms until Nov. 1.

If you'd like to donate, the items suggested for donation include:

  • Travel-size personal hygiene items
  • Snack-size Corn Nuts, packaged cookies, sunflower seeds or beef jerky
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Socks
  • gum
  • Hard candy
  • Granola bars
  • Drink mixers for water (Kool-Aid and Crystal Light)
  • Sunscreen, Band-Aids, Chapstick
  • Pens, memo pads or envelopes
  • Letters, artwork, cards

Donations and registration forms can be dropped off at any NTUA human resources office. For more information: 928-729-6151.

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