SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 19, 2013

A decade of giving

Group looks back at 10 years of supporting troops overseas

DANVERS — Even with the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan, Dick and Christine Moody’s Operation Troop Support still sends out 200 or more care packages a week for troops serving overseas.

As far as the Moodys can tell, there’s still a need.

“Five thousand troops left from Fort Stewart (Georgia) this month, they are going somewhere,” Christine Moody said.

The nonprofit Operation Troop Support turns 10 this year, and the Moodys and others are planning a dinner in Middleton on Saturday to celebrate.

A video will be shown during the dinner that chronicles the group’s efforts over the past decade to mail 79,000 weekly care packages and more than 146,000 holiday packages to servicemen and servicewomen.

The Moodys’ Trinity Street home is jammed with donations of socks, movies, fleece blankets, snacks, gum, pens, puzzles, personal hygiene products, writing materials and more — everyday items scarce for military personnel serving on the front lines or at far-flung bases.

Through letters, Facebook and Twitter, the Moodys learn names of soldiers in need and send care packages to Afghanistan, Germany, Guantanamo Bay, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, South Korea and elsewhere. Many times, the Moodys do not know where their packages go until a thank-you note comes back.

The organization also holds support groups for military families.

Dick Moody, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm, and his wife founded the organization in 2003 because they had children serving overseas.

Daughter Christina-Marie Pennington was an Air Force combat medic who has served in Iraq. In 2003, she was deployed to the intensive care unit at a medical center in Germany, where she treated soldiers wounded in Iraq. She told her parents that the soldiers needed comfort items like magazines to keep their minds off their recovery.

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