62nd Combat Trackers from Vietnam Serve the Dog Handlers of Today

For many years, I have implored dog handlers to stay connected with their K9 friends and their unit, a task made much easier in the age of Facebook and the internet.  I say this because of all of the dog handlers from Vietnam who, in an age of snail mail and no internet, more easily lost touch and couldn’t easily reconnect with friends from their days of service.

Some of them have tried mightily to find others who shared their burdens and shared their sacrifices.  While I can never understand the emotions and the depths of these friendships, I do recognize a commitment to each other and a devotion to duty that still remains even 45-50 years later.

They are also committed to this country and to supporting current dog handlers.  Our 2nd VP and our Webmaster are both Vietnam veterans.  They would hard and do simply remarkable things with little resources.

Our 4th Quarter care packages were designed to recognize and honor this generational support with the theme of “Two Generations- One Cause.”  The boxes were packed in Louisiana at an annual Veterans’ Day reunion and include our 2014 calendar which honors both generations.  We also have donations that were made possible by Vietnam veterans at various companies.  And, on top of all of this the 62nd Combat Trackers and their loving and devoted wives spent time together to make this 4th Quarter Care Package possible.  Thanks to all of them.

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The last photo was taken in June of 2012 at a 62nd IPCT reunion in Savannah, GA. Everyone enjoyed the trip to visit the base and the handlers at Fort Stewart.

Thanks to Burt’s Bees

Thanks to Burt’s Bees, we got some wonderful donations of In Kind products to include in our 2nd Quarter Care Packages. Natural Toothpaste and Tips and Toes Kits, with special collections of wonderful skin care lotions and salves. Who doesn’t love natural?

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Please check this great company out at www.burtsbees.com

We included the Burt’s Bees products into a larger bag that we laughingly called the “Hoof and Mouth” bag because it contained many personal care products for dental care and foot care.

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Thanks to one of the recipients of the “Hoof and Mouth” bag who photographed her Burt’s Bees items on top of the bag.

Small Planet Foods donated some Lara Bars

While we were packing our boxes, one of the volunteers said that she had heard from some of her Tri-Athlete buddies that Lara Bars were “to die for yummy”. Apparently, that is true. One of the handlers fessed up that the first thing out of the box while unpacking was a Bananas Foster bar that was quickly consumed and thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to our friends at Small Planet Foods!

One of the teams to which MWDTSA sent a care package

Airforce MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).

I adore these photos. And, even more special is that this is a team to which we’ve sent a care package. I would have loved to have included at least one of them in our 2014 calendar, but the DPI isn’t quite high enough. Which means I’m delighted to share them with all of you now.

Photos by Staff Sgt. Marleah Miller

This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronounced Crash).
This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson & Chrach patrolling the streets.
This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson & Chrach bonding.

2nd Quarter Care Packages are mailed…..mostly.

You can probably tell, MWDTSA has been VERY busy with packaging and shipping care packages, with very little extra time to update the Blog. We have so many items that we didn’t present photos of everything, but here is a sampling of our “Play Ball” box contents….

We included baseballs, baseball books, baseball decorated dog cookies, a dog ball and bandana.

We sent water flavoring to change up the water that the handlers need for hydration.

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We sent Xyla gum in Peppermint.

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We sent Larabars….

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We packed with and shipped over zip loc bags provided by Family Dollar

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We sent over Peanuts and Cracker Jacks…..

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We sent over personal care items, many of them donated by four generous donors.

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We sent over dental care products.

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And, Gold Bond.

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Courtney volunteered with MWDTSA during her senior year in high school She’s now a rising Senior and future veterinarian and is still supporting deployed dogs.

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All together, we packed and shipped over 150 packages in the past week. Whew!

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This wonderful donation of Pet Care products by Paul Mitchell was donated by Krisellen. I hope to have more of these donations sorted out and prominent in the July newsletter! Thanks to everyone who donated funding, products, time and effort. Can’t wait until these boxes start arriving down range.

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OOIDA Supports our dog handlers

MWDTSA is proud to partner with OOIDA:  Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association – an association of truck drivers to help round up addresses for their fabulous care packages.  We generally send addresses of handlers who will be deployed for a year and who have additional dog handlers with whom they can share the generous contents of these great packages.

We were first connected with OOIDA via a Vietnam era Combat Tracker dog handler, Bill Casey, from Ohio.  Bill is a member of OOIDA   When Jeanne Dedrick joined the board, she and her husband were also members.  We love truck drivers and OOIDA as they are both a generous and patriotic group.

This organization took on the cause of dogs, in addition to supporting all troops.  Above is one of the care packages they put together to send to some of the kennels down range.

Below are packages received by some of the handlers.

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From the photos, we think the dogs would join OOIDA…. if they could only drive truck….darn those missing opposable thumbs…LOL

Thanks to OOIDA for sending this important support.  Please stop by their website and say thanks:  http://ooida.com/.  And, thanks, Adam for the great photos.

Mariani Bars: Heaven In a Wrapper

DSC_7749 aA huge thank you to Mariani Packing Company for their support in our 1st  Quarter Care Packages.

The Honey Bars were a huge hit with our deployed dog handlers.  When this shipment arrived and I opened them to have a look, I thought we had something really special

After the care packages were sent,  I received this personal note from one of the dog teams, who described the Honey Bars as, “Heaven in a Wrapper”, I was sure these bars were as wonderfully tasting as they were nutritious.  These are great options for anyone working, exercising and wanting a handy, nutritious snack.  Please be sure to stop by the website http://www.mariani.com/ to thank this sponsor and to order your own piece of Heaven.  : )   We always want to support and thank our sponsors.

Thanks, Loretta for your great note.  We always appreciate hearing for our wonderful dog teams.

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Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississppi

Thanks to our great friends at the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, MWDTSA was able to include decks of playing cards in our last care packages.   What a great way for the dog handlers to pass the time  between missions.  Thanks, Silver Slipper!
We LOVE our donors and ask that you support them whenever you can.

Kudos to our Post Office

Packing is just one part of the equation….. that took place on Saturday for a large number of care packages.  Today was shipping day, which requires timing, patience and hard work.  Yesterday, we coordinated with the local post office that we would be sending out 70 of the packages today.  We took them to the back door (bulk door) of the local post office and off loaded them onto a huge bin.
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The post office staff rolled them to the front of the post office and we met up with the packages again on the front side at the customer service counters.  10:00 on Tuesday is generally a light  time for the clerks on the front counter so they all pitched in getting these packages processed.  Customs forms, signed, dated, weighed, inserted into sleeves and attached to each box.

Postage has just gone up to $14.85 a package.  Ouch!  $1039.50 was the total bill from both clerks who were working as hard and fast as they could work.  It took us about two hours of clerk time to get them all processed.  I’m exhausted and I know they are, too, from all of the lifting and processing.  LOL.  But, the end result is that 70 more care packages are on their way down range.

KONGs for K9s Display at Top Dogs in Kennesaw

Jonathan Wahl, 47th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog Veteran , stopping by for Top Dogs Kennesaw

MWDTSA Webmaster and 47th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog Veteran stopped by Top Dogs for a quick visit and “scouting” opportunity at the Kennesaw store on his way through on I-75. While there, he visited with employee Mandy Andree and checked out the items being requested for our dogs, including the KONGs, Solid Gold Shampoo and Conditioners, and grooming supplies.

Thanks to all of our great partner stores for their support, KONGs and other supplies will be in our Christmas packages.