By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON —
The Jefferson County Operation Iraqi Freedom Committee is seeking the names of deployed Jefferson County servicemen and women.
“We are hoping that our military men and women will be out of there this year, but we know there are still some over there,” said Joyce Poorman, JCOIF co-chairman. “We are trying to get the names and addresses of those who are deployed right now. The privacy act keeps us from investigating into the military, so we have to rely on family and friends to get us those names so we can send those $800 cards.”
Poorman said the committee has only collected about five names so far, a number that pales in comparison to some years when as many as 50 men and women from Jefferson County were overseas.
She said time is of the essence, because the committee typically sends the $800 PX cards around Thanksgiving so service members will get them in time for Christmas.
“We really only have two criteria - they have to be from Jefferson County, and they have to be in the war zone area,” Poorman said. “They could be in Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait. If they are aboard a ship, they need to be close to that area. They can be in any branch of the service.”
The cards the committee provides can be used at any PX store, Poorman said. She said some soldiers, Marines or airmen hang on to the cards until they get back to the states, but some use them to share with their units.
“Sometimes they will get everyone a steak dinner or something they don’t ordinarily ever have,” she said. “I know one fella bought energy drinks for everybody over there in his unit. We’ve had a few even buy some laptops so they could get on Skype and see their families.”
Some soldiers have even sprung for an entertainment system their whole unit could use, Poorman said.
“It is a Christmas present from Jefferson County,” Poorman said.
The JCOIF has been providing PX cards for deployed service men and women since 2004, Poorman said; the committee formed when her son was first deployed to Iraq.
“Anytime any of them are over there at Christmas, we want to try to give them that encouragement,” she said. “It is a good morale booster to think that people think of them at Christmas.”
To submit a service person to the JCOIF committee, call Poorman at 735-2521 or email email@example.com; those interested may also call JCOIF co-chairman David Keen at 316-9502.