"We worked on so many projects over the last two or three years. This is just kind of a closure to our Family Readiness Group," said Sondra Armour, secretary of the former Charlie Company Family Readiness Group.
Last month Charlie Company dismantled as a result of the reorganization of the Missouri National Guard. But plans for the cookbooks date back all the way to last fall during Charlie Company's deployment to Iraq.
"It started out as a way to raise money for our family day," said Linda Welter about making the cookbook. Welter's son, Jonathan Welter, was a member of Charlie Company.
Welter and her sister, Shelley Burnett of Chaffee, had put together a cookbook before and offered to head the project.
Work on the cookbooks began last January, and Charlie Company returned to Sikeston about a month later after serving a year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Family Readiness Group planned on distributing the cookbooks at Charlie Company's family day in September, but the event was canceled because the unit was deployed to New Orleans to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By the time they returned home, it was time to dismantle the group.
"We really didn't get a chance to socialize, and there wasn't closure for them and their families to Charlie Company," Welter said.
Now the cookbooks are serving as a keepsake for Charlie Company members and their families as well as the general public, Welter said.
The cookbooks will be available this weekend at the 10th Annual Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show located at The Bavarian Halle in Jackson.
Early bird shopping hours 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday. Exhibits will open on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. There is a $1 admission charge on Friday and Saturday. The event is free on Sunday.
"We did one publication of 150 books already, and they were gone. This publication is 200 books and they're going to go pretty quick," said Armour, whose husband, Dan Armour, and son, Brent Armour, were members of Charlie Company.
Compiled into a one-inch, vinyl notebook binder, Welter said there is lots of room to add other recipes.
"Everyone is really pleased with the way they turned out," said Welter about those who've purchased the cookbooks. "They were impressed it was such a professional looking cookbook."
The cookbook features a collection of recipes from Charlie Company's military personnel, their family and friends. It's divided into the following sections: soldier's choice; appetizers, dips and beverages; soups and salads; breads and rolls; vegetables and side dishes; meats, main dishes and casseroles; desserts, cookies and candies; miscellaneous; and helpful hints.
The section on the history of Charlie Company also includes the unit's missions and photos. A list of every Charlie Company member is included, and those who submitted a recipe are denoted by an asterisk. Also, a list of contributors to the Charlie Company Coalition can be found in the book.
"Having something that has some of soldiers' names, their favorite recipes and a little bit of history of the Missouri National Guard -- all of that makes it a little bit more special," Welter said about the cookbook.
The goal was also for Charlie Company soldiers and their families to have a cookbook, Welter said, adding any member who doesn't have one should contact her or Armour.
The cookbooks cost $10 (if shipping, additional costs will apply), and proceeds will be used to build a monument to honor Charlie Company for its service and their participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We knew a monument would honor all of them and it would be a place they could bring their children and grandchildren to see," Welter said.
Armour said the group is really excited about getting some funds for the monument.
"It was a labor of love and gave us all a closure," Armour said about the project. "We hope it's something the families can keep for many years to come and give them fond memories."