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Sweathogs receive care packages

4 Jun 2004 | Cpl. Kat Johnson

As Marines and Sailors of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 drive armored vehicles through the hot Iraqi desert, 19 women from Liberty, Miss. prepare care packages to say ‘thanks’ for all their service.

The Zeta Zeta chapter of Kappa Delta Phi have adopted the Sweathogs of ‘273 and have sent more than five boxes of candy, cookies, chips, phone cards, and magazines to the Middle East in support of their troops.

“We wanted to show our military members how much we appreciate everything they do,” said Karen Witkowski, chapter member. “It’s our small way of saying ‘thanks’ for the big job they do.”

The members of Kappa Delta Phi are part of the National Women’s Association founded in 1897. The organization has more than 180,000 members worldwide. The organization is committed to producing an environment that promotes personal growth and circles of friendship.

“Everything we do to send these care packages is out of the pride we have in our military,” Witkowski said. “We are non-profit, so all of our funding comes from what others donate.”

Three weeks ago, Witkowski and the women of Kappa Delta Phi held a garage sale raising money to put together care packages to send to the Sweathogs.

“We try to do events like this throughout the month so we can send at least one package to MWSS-273 every month,” Witkowski said.

The women of the chapter have been sending care packages to troops in foreign countries for more than a year. They attempt to send items that can be useful to everyone in a unit.

“Last year we sent sixty minute phone cards to every Sailor aboard the USS Bridge,” Witkowski said. “When we send items, we want to impact everyone, not just a small group, that’s why what we do is so important to us.”

The Zeta Zeta chapter sends care packages to all branches of the military. Before they adopted the Sweathogs of ’273, they used to send packages to the 2nd Battalion 5th Regiment 3rd Army Regiment.  The Marines of ’273 replaced 2/5 when they deployed to Iraq in Feb.

“I think most Americans want to show their appreciation but they don’t really know how,” Witkowski said. “We feel that even if we can only send the troops a bag of chips, at least they know someone cares about them and appreciates what they do.”

The women of Liberty, Miss., plan to send another package to the Sweathogs later this month.
“We know our troops have families at home that send them all types of care packages,” Witkowski said. “We just want them to know that what they do means a lot to people they have never met.”