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CAHS Patriots pack packages for troops

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 1:22 a.m.
Members of the CAHS Patriots and the Connellsville Area High School Jr. ROTC stuff care packages for troops on Tuesday to send in time for Christmas. From right are Alexandria Lacombe, a senior and president of the Patriots; Kayla Wingrove, a senior and historian for the Patriots; Lisa Mason, a senior and chaplain for the Patriots; and Col. Ulysses Winn, the Jr. ROTC instructor. Mark Hofmann | Daily Courier Nov. 20, 2012

Members of the CAHS Patriots prepared 253 care packages to reach troops serving overseas in time for Christmas — raising the number of packages in nine years to nearly 8,000.

Linda Shearer, founder of the CAHS Patriots, said the care packages were packed on Tuesday and shipped out Wednesday to four units — one stationed on a ship and the others in Afghanistan. The packages are expected to arrive in two to four weeks.

“This went smoothly,” Shearer said. “It will be guaranteed right in time for Christmas.”

Since its founding in 2003, the Patriots have sent 7,929 care packages — valued around $500,000 — to troops serving in harm's way, Shearer said. The total includes packages assembled this week at Connellsville Readiness Center.

Along with stuffing and sending care packages, members of the Patriots have raised $3,582 for the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville; established a memorial at CAHS to recognize eight graduates who died in service to their country; secured an artifact from the World Trade Center that is being incorporated into the renovated high school; and held various programs to honor local veterans.

Shearer said the Patriots will be at Carnegie Free Library on Dec. 1 for a crafts fundraiser. The group also sponsored 1,900 wreaths on graves in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville. On Dec. 15, the Patriots will head back to the Allegheny County cemetery; the group sponsored 471 wreaths this year.

Shearer said since the first deployment to Iraq in 2003, the Patriots started their mission to send packages overseas to troops serving in harm's way. Although the troops could be leaving Afghanistan next year, there are soldiers stationed elsewhere overseas.

“Our work never stops,” Shearer said.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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