By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – Natalie Lemons has lived in Bryan County for many years, and is taking the time to send something of the county to those who are serving abroad this Christmas.
She is putting together packages with gifts to be sent to troops oversees.
Lemons said she doesn’t personally know any of the military personnel oversees, but has been moved to let them know people care.
“Every year, I send Christmas cards out to anyone and everyone, family and friends, and it usually ends up being about 100 cards,” Lemons said. “Last year, I was able to collect about 1,000 Christmas cards from schools and people and the cards stuffed into 300 care packages and they were sent over to Kuwait.
“It inspired me to carry this on and I wanted to do this on my own.”
She said she knows there are many troops away from their families this holiday season and that there are likely also many that will not receive anything for Christmas.
Lemons, who works as a cashier at Walmart in Durant, said she recalls her own family when thinking about the people who serve this country.
“Two of my great-grandfathers were in World War II, one was in the Army and one was in the Navy. I grew up looking at pictures of them, even though I didn’t know them. They were pictures of them in uniform and I was always mesmerized by them. Every day when I’m at work, I have the opportunity to thank our veterans.”
So she came up with a way to raise awareness of our troops and to try to be a blessing to them.
“I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the soldiers and make sure they receive something from our community, even if they don’t know who we are.
“I found a bag that could be reused by the serviceman or servicewoman who receives it. It is small and durable. And I found things such as shampoos, conditioners, body wash, loofas and treats like Oreos and beef jerky and candies that I could fill it with and packed it full.
“And I lowered the cost to about $20, which includes shipping, and I wanted to offer that for people to purchase and be able to send it to. Even if someone were to sponsor just $3 of the cost, that would at least cover the cost of the shipping.”
Lemons said those who want to be a part and sponsor a package can go to their local First United Bank branch and say they want to give to Care Packages for Troops.
And she can be reached via her Facebook page, as well.