Gold Star mom wraps up care packages
In August, Sally Wiley and her volunteers were at the Gardnerville Post Office mailing care packages for the troops when she encountered one of those who’d received a package in the flesh.
Worker and Carson City resident Chris Fordyce served in the U.S. Army and told Wiley he had been the recipient of a care package just like the ones she and her team were mailing.
Over the past decade, Wiley and a group of dedicated volunteers have shipped nearly 2,000 care packages to U.S. service members overseas.
Next month, Wiley and her team will be gathering Dec. 3 to box up one more load of packages before she retires from the field.
For her last hurrah, Wiley said all they require is homemade cookies and signed Christmas cards. She said there have been so many donations that there are enough items for the last set boxes.
“I didn’t realize how many hours I’ve spent for the last 10 years,” she said. “I loved every minute of it, but I thought ‘Wow, how did I do that?’”
While she has yet to find someone in Carson Valley, she said the Truckee Meadows Blue Star Moms are still sending packages.
“In the last few years they have been supplying me with all their contacts plus the four USOs,” she said. “What’s important to me is that the troops are still getting packages from Nevada.”
Wiley said she wants to make sure that any money or supplies left over after December’s mailings get where they will do some good.
“If I have any money left, I’m giving that to Truckee Meadows because they are sending packages,” she said. ”All of the money I’ve received is for paying postage for packages. It’s important to me for people to know that they will take over the money if there is any left. The money was given in good faith.”
Wiley had been sending packages to her son, Staff Sgt. Sean Diamond, for years before he was killed during his third tour in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Feb. 15, 2009.
In his memory, she started sending care packages from Gardnerville.
“I see it as the right that came out of a terrible wrong, it has been such a wonderful thing, but it happened for such a sad reason.”
She said a volunteer is creating a manual on the process.
“We had people who donated items and people who donated cash, one VFW in Reno and one here and one in Carson City.
Wiley thanked all the contributors and volunteers who’ve helped her over the decade.
“I haven’t actively sought money in years,” she said. “I like to say I walk down the street and people hand me money.”
She said it has been quite a ride over the past decade.
“It’s an incredible thing to me and I want to say how incredible these people have been,” she said. “It has just been overwhelming and amazing the amount of support to send the packages out.
She said that anyone interested in taking over sending care packages should contact her at 783-9292.