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Holtville American Legion Helps Navy Crew After Getting Tip

HOLTVILLE — Acting on a tip, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 138 in Holtville sprang into action under current president Karen Gibbs to prepare holiday care packages for service members overseas on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Kris Haugh, public information officer at the Naval Air Facility El Centro, said he was in contact with a friend on the ship and decided to email former Auxiliary president Kim Vincent about arranging care packages for its crew.

Though she moved to Oklahoma earlier this year, Vincent said in an interview she still has a drive to help those on active duty, so she contacted Gibbs. 

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“It is wonderful our military community knows they count on us to support them. Care packages (for 100 sailors were) prepared Mon., Dec. 9 at the American Legion post in Holtville. I guarantee the sailors will remember who remembered them,” Vincent said.

The packages included toiletries such as shaving lather and disposable razors, toothpaste and brushes, deodorant, and lip balm; snacks that included beef jerky, trail mix, energy bars; and playing cards, dominoes, puzzle books, writing paper and pens.

Gibbs explained the Auxiliary had the largest numbers of volunteers ever to prepare the packages, especially from the Holtville Fire Department, Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and Turning Point Ministries.

“It was wonderful. A lot of people wrote Christmas cards to the crew of the Abraham Lincoln,” said Gibbs. “Our ladies got on board to put this together and we didn’t have much time to finish before Christmas. Holtville is known for supporting our servicemen. Our little community came together to put care packages together.”

Joan Carey, who just joined Unit 138 in the spring, added, “The care package assembly was fabulous. Anything we can do for the military is a privilege. I came from an extended military family. My husband, Mike, served in Vietnam (1965-69) at Da Nang in the medical corps. I’m always partial to anybody serving in the military.”

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Helen Wilson, who has been in Unit 138 for two years, still refers to herself as a new recruit. Her husband, Glen, was in the Navy and stationed on a freight ship that resupplied aircraft with fuel in the 1960s.

“It was fantastic to see so many people show up to work on the care packages,” she said. “I was very happy to see our community so helpful.”

In addition, Margret Strahm arrived late in the afternoon to donate a check on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a service organization whose members are lineal descendants from patriots of the American Revolution.


This story is featured in the Dec 19, 2019 e-Edition.