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Sweet treats for troops

Sunday, February 9, 2003

(Photo)
Katherine and M.B. Wethington show a picture of their grandson, PFC Zach Stacy.
SIKESTON - Soldiers typically get happy when they receive a package from home, but when PFC Zach Stacy receives one, everyone in the Marines' 9th Communication Battalion gets excited - even the brass.

"One of the guys will holler, 'Hey! Zach's got a box from his grandma - come on!" said M.B. Wethington of Sikeston, Stacy's grandfather.

"I've sent several packages to our grandson in Kuwait. He said he'll return to find a package on his bunk and everyone will be gathered around," laughed his wife, Katherine Wethington, who prepares the five-pound batches of fudge for their grandson.

Not only a hit with his peers stationed with him in Kuwait, the fudge even captured the notice of the Lt. Col. K.E. Bruno, the unit's commanding officer, who sent a letter of thanks to Mrs. Wethington.

"Evidently we sent more than he could eat and that's how it ended up in the mess hall for the colonel to come across it," she said.

The Wethingtons were surprised by the hand-addressed, personal letter. "And a busy man to do that," Mrs. Wethington said.

"This guy took the time to write such a good letter," said Mr. Wethington, adding that he was most impressed with "the fact that he praised the young men."

In addition to their grandson, Mrs. Wethington also sends packages to their godson, Joey Kyle, formerly of Sikeston but now living in Springfield where he works as a police officer when not activated as a chief petty officer in a Naval Reserve SEAL unit.

"They're about 40 miles apart," said Wethington of their grandson and godson. "They're going to try to look each other up but they haven't had time to yet.

"He said it was a big hit, too," he added regarding the fudge. "It ruined all their dinner."

Although it is an old care package joke that what leaves the states as cookies arrive as crumbs, the packages have reportedly all arrived in pretty good shape, although the Wethingtons wonder what Stacy's reaction was to getting egg cartons as packages before opening them to find baked goods inside.

In addition to five-pound batches of fudge, Mrs. Wethington has also sent divinity, cakes and apple cakes.

"Zach loves pecan pies," she said. "I've sent him three so far."

The fudge, however, seems to be the biggest hit. "That's the one he has the most of and shared the most," Mrs. Wethington said.

Stacy's mother, Connie Stacy, and sister, Jennifer Stacy, presently live in Little Rock, Ark.