The Alabama National Guard’s 1/167th Infantry Battalion will be in Afghanistan for at least a year performing security force missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. About 100 troops from Company D in Sylacauga and 200 from Headquarters Company and Company E in Talladega are deploying.
Donation drop-off points are currently set up at Marble City Pharmacy, Serra Honda, Walmart, Fred’s and Scrubby Dubbies. Other businesses are expected to join.
The soldiers need non-aerosol hygienic items including soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, mouthwash, dental floss, Chap Stick, lotion, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, eye drops and more, as well items like individually-wrapped candy, stamps and envelopes.
Pharmacist Danny Johnson of Marble City Pharmacy said it is important for their business to do something for the deploying soldiers.
“Everybody is in support of our troops; we just need to let them know it,” Johnson said. Sometimes we forget to do that.”
Items will be collected through Aug. 3. The donated supplies will be used while the troops are at their mobilization site and will also be sent with them overseas.
Donald Caine, whose son, Cpl. Brian Caine, is deploying, said these items are necessities for the troops. Equally as important is the support of the community, he said.
“We want the community to support these troops,” Donald said. “Some of them don’t have family support, and they all need the city to be behind them, even if it’s just donating these inexpensive items.”
Brian, part of Company D, said deployment is going to be difficult, but they are prepared.
“We’ve been training for a year and a half, so we feel ready,” he said. “The hardest part is leaving family and friends for a year, so it means a lot to have not only their support, but the city’s as well.”
A farewell ceremony is planned for the troops this Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Sylacauga High School auditorium. Talladega is holding a ceremony Thursday at 1 p.m. at the National Guard armory.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.