Care packages shipped to troops
Since 2009 Sally Wiley has sent more than 2,000 care packages to U.S. troops.
It started when her son, Staff Sgt. Sean Diamond, was stationed in Iraq. She sent packages to him filled with homemade cookies and anything he needed to remind him of home and bring a smile to his face, Wiley said.
After Diamond was killed in action by a roadside bomb in 2009, she continued to send them.
“The two things he loved most were his care packages and his men,” said Wiley. “I felt like it was my responsibility to continuing sending them to bring a smile to the troops. I do it in memory of him.”
She sends packages to men and women who cannot be home for the holidays or who are in times of need.
“There was one family we helped where a soldier’s wife was having breast surgery because of breast cancer and he had to be deployed and couldn’t be with her,” said Wiley. “A mutual friend told me about it and I put together a package for him.”
Wiley said she receives calls and references from friends and the community whenever military families are in need and she is more than willing to help.
“That’s part of what we do, “ she said. “We get a reference and do what we can to help.”
The packages are usually filled with non-perishable items such as protein bars, jerky, popcorn, candy and homemade treats, ChapStick and room fresheners.
“We change what we send based on their conditions,” said Wiley. “Like right now, many of where we send packages are not harsh conditions so toiletries are not an issue, but often times we do. It just depends.”
Wiley said the collecting and packaging is mostly done out of her own home, but she receives outside help too. She said the Carson Valley Boys and Girls Club recently provided help by putting together 52 packages.
“It was a little crazy, but we enjoyed it,” Wiley. said “It teaches the kids about helping those in need, especially our men and women overseas.”
She likes to have a least two veterans helping her at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I like to have veterans attend the packaging with the kids to expose them to the military,” she said. “It sets a good example and reminds them of what they are doing and why.”
Wiley also participates in various annual food drives, including the “Share your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive.”
“Last year we received around 176,000 pounds of food and about $50,000 dollars, “said Wiley. “We hope to beat that this year. We take donations of food and money continuously and distribute it as needed.”
Food donations are given to the Carson Valley Food Closet.
Other contributors to Wiley’s cause and who help with the food drive are individuals Brenda Robertson, Janet Frexias, Katy Weber, Diane Carol, John Laub, Carolyn Steinberger, Suezan Hey; and local charities and clubs including Crystal Angels, Douglas County Republic Women, the Sertoma club and Elks club, Carson Valley Food Closet, and the local VFW.
“We continue to do what we do to take care of those in harms way with the various amounts of help,” said Wiley. “The community has been great and I want to share how much it means to me and the community, show my appreciation and what I can to help.”
The KTVN Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive will be 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. today at the Carson Valley Inn RV Park entrance. Donations are delivered to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.
For more information, email Sally Wiley, email@example.com