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Dayton man's homecoming doesn't cease gifts for troops

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, Dec. 7, 2009

Keith Beckett's family frequently sent him boxes full of reminders from home.

But when his duty with the Army was over, his family didn't want to stop sending goodwill to soldiers overseas.

"We wanted to do something meaningful for Christmas," said Dayton area resident Suze Ewing, Beckett's mother.

So last week, Ewing emptied her car that had carried items donated to her by about 10 family members living throughout the county.

"My trunk is packed, and the back seat is all packed up full," she said last week, laughing.

The items were solicited through an e-mail to family members on Nov. 1, Ewing said. After receiving nonperishable food, lip balm, magazines and personal care items, she sent the goods overseas with the help from a friend of Beckett's. Even Ewing's grandchildren pitched in by making greeting cards.

Any reminder of home is welcome when days consist of patrolling in temperatures that surpass 100 degrees, said Beckett.

"You have no idea what it means to get mail or a box of something," he said Beckett. "It's just so unbelievable. It doesn't matter when you get it."

Beckett was in Kuwait for about a year beginning around Thanksgiving in 2004, so he knows the difficulty of being away from his family during the holidays.

For Christmas, a tree was decorated, a meal prepared and soldiers could call or e-mail family members, he said.

"The meal and everything was good -- the only thing that was missing was family," he said.

Even though the family's donations might not make it overseas in time for Christmas, Beckett said they'll be appreciated no matter when they arrive.

"It does mean a lot to get mail over there," he said.

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