(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Currently dollars are being raised to purchase equipment and supplies for Charlie Company. The Sikeston Jaycees have even established a checking account for the purpose of raising funds.
"When we heard that the Sikeston National Guard was called up, we wanted to do something to help them out," said Sikeston Jaycees representative Jeff Miles.
Once Charlie Company has a clear understanding of what the Army will be providing them, 1st Sgt. Dan Armour, along with the Company's Family Readiness Group, will contact Miles about specific purchases, Miles explained.
A few examples for such purchases are camel packs to house water on their backs in the form of a back pack instead of a canteen; lap top computers, set up to e-mail home; and hand-held Global Positioning Systems, to find their way in the desert.
According to Miles, the next phase of Coalition Charlie Company will be to purchase items of necessity to send overseas. For example, with showering allowed once a week, it is imperative that each man receive hygiene products. Volunteer teams are being put into place to help pack these boxes. There is even a subgroup which will begin collecting the type of boxes needed to mail these items.
"From what I understand, postage costs a considerable amount," Miles noted. "So that's something we may be looking at, too."
On Saturday, the 120 members of Charlie Company from Sikeston, Charleston, East Prairie and Portageville will be called to Fort Riley, Kan., to prepare for their 18-month overseas assignment.
"I think the Guard is overwhelmed by the community's support they've received and appreciate everyone's efforts to provide them an advantage and help with the transition from the community over to the war zone," Miles said.
While Miles admitted he doesn't think too many people in the community know about "Coalition for Charlie Company," he knows there are many people who would like to help.
"A lot of people just don't know about the coalition, and a lot of people want to help the Guard, but they don't know how or who to contact," Miles said.
Recently the Guard discovered The First National Bank is donating two complete computers to the unit, noted Charlie Company's Family Readiness Group Lead Volunteer Michelle Standridge on Friday. Other contributions already made include a $5,000-donation from First Security State Bank and a $12,000-donation from the Sikeston Jaycees.
"They're an incredible group, and the support from the Sikeston community is just as amazing," Standridge said. "We appreciate anything and everything that they're doing."
To make a donation, checks may be made payable to and sent to the Sikeston Jaycees; PO Box 745; Sikeston, MO 63801, or for more information, call Standridge at (573) 243-7156 or Norma Miles at (573) 471-6803.