Photo above: Team photo of volunteers from both groups and their children.
By Bob Sofaly
The Stroller Warriors is a running club based at local military installations and is headed by an active duty military spouse. Membership is both male and female, active duty service members and dependents, spanning all ages, ranks, and branches. Children are not required, nor are strollers, so workouts allow for anybody who is a member to participate. These workouts serve as the cornerstone of their organization providing a way to meet other people in a similar situation, make new friends, and help service men and women around the world.
We know being a new Marine recruit can be a lonely adventure for some who have no family or friends situated locally. They have no one to come on family day or graduation to cheer them on. Then in steps the Stand Alone Marines Bag Project to help fill the gap. SAM members collect donations to pack into goodie bags for the new Marines as a way to thank them for their sacrifice and congratulate them on their accomplishment.
Whether it is cookies, candy, playing cards, paperback books, international calling cards or beef jerky, it is all appreciated by our newest Marines.
The Stroller Warriors and the Stand Alone Marine Bag Project members got together at Gilligan’s Restaurant to assemble these bags for soon to graduate recruits as well as to send some “goodie boxes” to active duty military overseas. Jessica Curren, spokesperson for the Stand Alone Marines Bag project, said, “We put together bags of items these young Marines would need so they would not feel alone when they graduated as well as send out goody bags to other active military.”
Recently they assembled about a dozen gift bags for the Stand Alone Marines at Parris Island and another 40 boxes to be mailed to service men and women deployed around the world. Gilligan’s restaurant in Beaufort lets them use a banquet room and donates storage space as well.
The Warriors, together with the Stand Alone Marine Bag Project members, assembled more than 620 bags last year alone. “We are part of our Marine Corps Family,” Curren said. “Our men and women on active duty are not alone anymore”.
From left: Jessica Curren, left, said “for many of the military wives this is their way of serving and a chance to say ‘thank you, thank, you, thank you”; Samantha Clinton puts chewing gum in boxes while carrying her nine-month-old son Blake on her back; Volunteers Richard Rooney, left, and Donnie Beer get some of the items organized into groups; Bob Regier, right, loads the packed boxes into his pick-up truck for transport to the Post Office; Even the children get involved in putting boxes together; Children of some of the volunteers; It all goes in a box; Jessica Curren, right, describes how to fill out a customs form and what needs to be listed.