SEMINOLE, Fla. - Dozens of volunteers gathered in Seminole Friday night to pack over 100 care packages for our military, and they will send a box to a local firefighter currently deployed in Iraq.
Jacob Breau, 29, serves as a firefighter with Seminole Fire Rescue; he is also a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves.
“He has 45 members in his platoon, so we just want to get some boxes, send them out to him and send some to the other troops overseas,” said firefighter Bobby Rutledge, who works with Breau at Seminole Fire Rescue. “I believe he'll get some interesting notes from all the guys here at the department, so we plan on sending him a special box.”
Volunteers packed 158 boxes as part of the mission of Operation Military Matters, a nonprofit started four years ago by now 13-year-old Graci Tubbs of Seminole. For her to know someone in her own community will get one of the care packages she helped gather donations for, she said it’s amazing to know her project is bringing people together to show support.
“We've never done something like this, and it's very unique,” said Tubbs about packing boxes for a local service member. “It's helping people that help us on a daily basis, not only that they're overseas but here locally.”
The service members aren’t just getting care packages, they are also getting hand-written thank you notes.
“When you're over there you kind of think that the United States over here they forget about you or they aren't thinking about you, but we always are,” said Rutledge, who is a military veteran.
Breau’s mother also joined in to pack items, sharing that she never expected such a large turnout.
“[It] makes you proud. It makes you really proud. I was always really proud of him anyway, but it's nice to know that he has his family outside of his family,” said Andrea Breau, Jacob’s mother. “He loves this. It gives them that sense of home, and they really need that little piece of home.”
Tubbs said Operation Military Matters takes item donations to pack the boxes and then uses monetary donations to ship them overseas. About 100 boxes will go to Breau and his unit in Iraq, and then the rest will be shipped to other service members deployed in the Middle East.