Operation Guardian Angel Brings Jefferson City Together

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Operation Guardian Angel project kicked off Wednesday night guest speakers and a performance from the Jefferson City High School Marching Band.


Over the next several weeks, volunteers will collect donations at area businesses to send to Marines and sailors on the USS Green Bay. Vietnam veteran Don Hentges, who currently serves as the President of the Jefferson City Veterans Council made the event possible. Hentges says he knows from personal experience the importance of receiving a care package from home.


Neil Smith, a volunteer, said the project plans to send the care packages overseas just in time for Christmas. Smith says about 1,160 care packages will sent.


The USS Green Bay was chosen because several men are aboard who saved Jefferson City resident and Marine Tyler Huffman’s life. Huffman was injured in battle, and is now paralyzed. 


Boxes for donations stand at area businesses, including grocery stores and car dealerships. Smith says when he delivered the boxes, business owners and customers welcomed them warmly.


“You go in there with this box, and people are smiling,” Smith said. “They’re happy, and they know what it’s for.”


To send the packages in time for Christmas, Smith said donations will be accepted through Nov. 15. 


Items requested include batteries, snacks and paperback books, all of which were piled on tables in the Coca Cola factory Wednesday. Volunteers will be sorting through donations over the next several weeks, and then the project will begin the process of shipping the boxes overseas.


In addition, Smith said area middle school students are writing personal letters to the Marines and sailors aboard the USS Green Bay.


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