Fort Scott sends Christmas love to troops overseas

Andrew Kopaczewski is a member of the U.S. Army who’s served three tours overseas, and he’s giving the care package goodies put together by the Fort Scott Presbyterian Village and Fort Scott Community College his personal seal of approval.

“They definitely made a conscious effort in this event and I’m very glad to be a part of it. I hope they get a lot more than what they’ve gotten, but they’ve gotten quite a good stash going,” said Andrew.

This “Adopt a Unit” care package drive was spearheaded by Andrew’s best friend who he considers a sister, Jen Simhiser. Her friendship with Andrew, and marriage to another service member changed the way she thought about helping out the troops.

“Ten years ago, before I met my brother/best friend and my husband, I wasn’t big into military. It wasn’t a real big deal to me, and then Ski spent some time overseas. We sent packages to him, and with him being over there, it just kind of became this huge deal,” said Jen.

And now Jen wants to create the same huge deal for two military units serving in the Middle East, with Kansas connections.

That’s why she encouraged the Student Nursing Organization at Fort Scott Community College, of which she is a member, to team up with the Fort Scott Presbyterian Village to collect care package gifts and treats that will soon be sent out.

The plan is to have these gifts in soldiers’ hands by Christmas.

“We have got more than what they requested, but we’re trying to get a lot of the things they particularly want that they don’t normally get: The hot sauces and the things over there that stores don’t carry,” said Jen.

But according to Andrew, or “Ski” as Jen calls him, the best care package gift is one that comes from the heart.

“I absolutely love getting beef jerky like everyone else, and crackers in the mail. But the hand written notes, the gestures of gratitude, even from these small children, it means the world to me,” said Andrew.

There’s still time to donate items or a heartfelt note or greeting card to our soldiers fighting overseas. If you would like to contribute to this care package drive, give Jen a call at 620-215-1005, or contact the Fort Scott Presbyterian Village at 620-223-5550 and ask for Ginger.