November 10th, 2018
Holiday Packing Event
288 BOXES PACKED AT THE EVENT!!
More arrived after the event, and even more boxes are being packed. When we make the final shipment on December 1st, there will be 350 BOXES SHIPPED OUT!!
Our Holiday Packing Event was hosted this year by Sea Dog Brewery, an incredible restaurant and brewery located on the south end of beautiful Treasure Island, Florida. Charlie Breakiron and his awesome team at Sea Dog really made this a big success! Our event had a HUGE turnout, and included many new members and a lot of wonderful donations for our troops. We had a great time and had a lot of folks out there helping us do what we do.
For those that have been a part of this for a while now, you know we collect a lot of Halloween candy to pack in our boxes. We fill stockings, water bottles, ziplock bags, you name it. Each year, it seems that the candy thing catches on more and more. This year, with the help from a few Publix locations, and our members, we shipped out nearly 1500 pounds of candy! One of our members, Darcy Edwards, holds a drive at her school, and the kids donated almost 600 pounds of candy for the troops this year! Well done to all!!
From the very start, loads of volunteers started coming in, bringing goods, donating to shipping, and helping us pack the boxes. There were members of the Ladies Auxiliary – Post 273, the St. Paul’s Church Columbiettes, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Ice Cold Air in Dunedin, UPS, Allied Global Marketing, Young Mens Service League of Tampa, and many more groups collecting donations and coming out to help. The Girl Scouts Troop 1203 not only helped pack 150 stockings for shipping, but many of the girls showed up at 6am on the loading dock to help us offload the boxes at the post office! All during the week after the event, there were many members that came to help tape and label all of these boxes. And if it were not for CellQuest, we would not have the space to store any of our boxes, supplies, or equipment – thank you Rick Davis for donating the space for us! A great big thank you to everyone who donated and helped pack and send these boxes for our troops, we make a huge difference out there!
Dozens of cards, letters, and pictures poured in from schools and churches around the country, and at the event, many people sat down and signed the thank you sheets. You may have noticed that the design on the sheets was a bit different this time, as our own Carter Dabney has designed seasonal logos for us, and we will be using them at our events. (We may even print shirts with them by order!) Several people donated for t-shirts, and sponsored boxes. My baby sister Michelle Fulmer has been making some really pretty handcrafted earrings and donating ALL of the proceeds to our shipping. All of these make our little pieces of home just that much more special.
Additionally, we had some fantastic talent at our event. Our own Harold Thornton hand carved some very cool walking sticks to raffle off to help with shipping. Courtesy of Charlie and Sea Dog, one of the gift baskets we raffled off to raise shipping was a signed bottle of Horse Soldier Whiskey by American Freedom Distillery (remember the movie 12 Strong? These are the men who fought there). And last but not least by a long shot, we had Nashville recording artist C.C. Martin there entertaining us with his live music and original songs. One song in particular, “Flags of Freedom” is a powerful song that I recommend everyone look up and listen to. Not only that, but C.C. donated part of his sales of CDs and hats to our shipping as well. (several of us took the opportunity to go see C.C. again the following weekend and had a killer time!) C. C. it was a pleasure meeting you and I am proud to call you my friend.
We had some folks that have been with us from the beginning, and many new faces as well. There were volunteers from all over the bay area and beyond! Many of our guests are veterans and we get to hear how much things like this meant to them as they helped us pack. A special shout out to some of the patrons and staff of Sea Dog that came out to help pack and made shipping donations as well.
Several young people come out to help pack our boxes. This is something that means an awful lot to all of us at TBTS – we want to give a heartfelt thank you to the parents of the kids in attendance. By bringing the kids out to an event and getting them involved, this plants seeds for the future – valuable seeds for these kids to grow up with the appreciation and understanding of giving to those who protect our freedoms. It is a bright and encouraging view of the future leaders of our country. We are proud to have you as part of our effort year after year.
Thank you to all of those unsung heroes that never appear in any of the pictures on the site, but never fail, year after year, to take time and hit that PayPal button on the website, or drop us a check in the mail, or hold a fund raiser online – your donations are key to us being able to ship out the packages – you make that happen! And thank you to our many corporate sponsors who always come through with donations for goods and postage – especially on a record setting shipment like this one!
I am very proud of what we do. I know I say it an all the time, but it never loses a single bit of meaning with me – you folks are an amazing group of people. We have been at this a long time. This is our 12th year sending packages to our troops. To date, we are closing in on 10,000 boxes sent. Together we all have gathered and packed boxes to ship to our troops, and Tampa Bay Troop Support has grown beyond my wildest dreams. It has done so because of the drive and dedication of our members who always keep the project going. Thank you so much for believing in this effort and coming back time after time to join us.
More than anything, I want to thank our Troops – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserves – all of you who stepped up and signed the line to protect the nation we live in. Thank you to those who have been there and back, those who have served, and those that are still serving, and prayers up for those that served and will not return. You incredible men and women are the reason we do what we do. You make sacrifices every day so that we may live in peace and enjoy the freedoms of our great country. You represent the ideals and honor of the United States of America, and we are proud of you.
You are our True American Heroes.