June 30, 2008
Care Package Donor Marks 25 Years
For 25 years, Bob Williams has been sending care packages overseas to our service people. He says, “I can get a tremendous amount of products donated because of my connections, but the problem is I need help with the cost of sending it to the troops.” Each week Williams says he sends 250 containers that each weigh almost 70 pounds, along with boxes to zip codes on the West Coast and also a lot of smaller boxes, which average about $8,000 a month to mail. Every morning Williams gets up about 2:30 a.m. to check his computer, which has up to 100 emails with wish lists from 300 different deployed units. According to Williams, the biggest requests from the military are Starbucks coffee and cigars, with Williams adding, “I just picked up 25,000 stogies to send to the troops, and they like them not only for the relaxation factor, but it also keeps away the bugs.” One of Williams’ biggest fans is Valrico Starbucks Store Manager Audra Gapinski who supplies Williams with coffee, along with other things, and says, “My goal is to get more support for Bob and his efforts. Bob is an awesome guy and he is absolutely incredible; everything he does is for the troops.” Gapinski goes on to say, “This has become a huge passion for Bob and me, and we are spreading it as far as we can.” Gapinski explains that all the local Starbucks are participating in the coffee drive and adds, “Our store also has flags you can sign to send to the troops, and I collect things from our local schools to send overseas.” As for why Williams is so involved in this, he says he was in Vietnam, and “I want these people today to come home as heroes and I don’t want them to feel like we did. I want them to know that people back home really care about them.” If you would like to donate to the troops, you can mail a check to “Support Our Troops”, P.O. Box 7560, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545. For more information about what Williams is doing, you can go to www.ourtroopsonline.com or visit the Valrico Starbucks at the intersection of Mt. Carmel Rd. and S.R. 60 in front of Lowes.