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Group sends care packages to troops

Golden West's Service Veteran Organization packages up only the best stuff to send to Army, Marine units in Afghanistan.

December 18, 2012|By Andrew Shortall
  • Veterans Tabatha Maddox, left, Jeffrey Saunders, center, and Joshua Ellis with the Goldenwest College Student Veteran Organization put together gift packages to send to troops overseas at the school last Thursday.
Veterans Tabatha Maddox, left, Jeffrey Saunders, center,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Matt Muggia, a U.S. Marine veteran, remembers the disappointment he felt when he was deployed overseas, opened up a care package and thought he spotted a package of Oreos. But they weren't really Oreos. They were a knock-off brand.

"I was totally grateful when I got a package, but nothing made me more mad than getting a knock-off Oreo," said Muggia, president of Golden West College's Service Veteran Organization. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'"

Muggia made sure only the best made its way into the 30 to 40 holiday care packages that were prepared and shipped to Army and Marine units in Afghanistan by Golden West's SVO. The group made sure the packages were mailed to outlying areas that rarely receive items throughout the year.

There were no knock-offs to be found in the boxes filled with Jack Links beef jerky, Doritos, Famous Amos cookies, Tapatio hot sauce, Cheez-It, David sunflower seeds, and of course Oreos, that were put together in the school's criminal justice training center Thursday afternoon during finals week.

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"What better person to give a care package than a veteran? We know what they need," Muggia said. "You want something good that reminds you ofhometo escape — where every bite you take makes you forget where you are for a second.'"

Inside the packages, recipients will also find a book, movie, body warmer, socks and a hand-written note from a Golden West College student.

"We do it to let them know there are people — not just their families, random churches or little kids writing letters — thinking about them," said Golden West SVO Vice President Tabatha Maddox.

The Golden West SVO raised $600 through a series of fundraisers on campus and donations from Golden West staff and faculty to purchase the care-package items from Barnes & Noble, Costco and Smart & Final.

It marks the change the veteran's organization at Golden West underwent this year, taking an active role on campus.

"At first we were known as a meet-up group and not an official club, but because of our participation in on-campus activities, we've reestablished ourselves as a legitimate club," Golden West SVO Treasurer Jeffrey Saunders said.

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