SMOKEY POINT Mary Welsh, a 2002 graduate of Arlington High School, was able to contribute to the men and women of Americas military for a second holiday season, thanks to a sweet donation from Marysville and Lake Stevens orthodontist Dr. Jason Bourne.
Bourne collects Halloween candy from area parents to prevent their children from damaging their dental appliances. After hed dispensed approximately 50 pounds of candy to the food banks in his communities, he handed over the rest, more than 300 pounds, to Welsh. She passed it on to American troops currently overseas, as well as to the United Services Organizations bed-and-breakfast unit in SeaTac Airport.
Welsh, a 22-year-old senior at Central Washington State College, submitted a Christmas wish to KOMO News last year, in which she extolled the virtues of the USO, whose volunteers provide military men and women with places to stop and rest, clean up and take a shower, log onto computers to send e-mails to friends and family members, watch television and share tuna sandwiches with fellow members of the armed forces.
Welshs Christmas wish was to give those members of the armed forces some potato chips to go with their tuna sandwiches, along with enough personal supplies of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, disposable razors and shampoo that they could freshen up, when they needed to.
About 90 percent of my graduating class at AHS went into the service, and most of my friends from high school are in the military now.
Welsh, who works as a mentor for USO service personnel, still wants to educate the public on how the USO seeks to support the men, women and families in each of the branches of service. When citizens understand the need, volunteerism and donations will prevail, she maintains.
At the same time she feels strongly about offering her own support to those serving in the military since many of the same high school friends that she mentioned are now in Iraq and places that are classified.
After staying up until 4 a.m. one night, to separate out all the chocolates for the USO at SeaTac, Welsh is sending out the remaining candy to dozens of troops overseas, with whom she has maintained semi-regular contact, every couple of weeks and months.
These special men and women of our armed forces are there for us every day, said Welsh, who encouraged others to be there for those military members, by logging onto the USOs Adopt a Soldier Web site, at www.adoptasoldier.com.
Its fun to think of my donated candy, traveling thousand of miles, Bourne said. I hope that this, in some small way, can ease the burdens of war for these soldiers. Id like to do it again next year.
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