Mississippi College

MC Helps National Guard Troops Headed to Iraq

July 23, 2009

When Mississippi National Guard soldiers get a rousing send-off in Clinton in early August they will be carrying dozens of items donated by Mississippi College faculty and staff.

MC employees are donating phone cards, puzzle books, toothpaste plus other items to National Guard soldiers being deployed to Iraq.

The Mississippi soldiers will get the send-off on Wednesday Aug. 5 at 8:30 a.m. at the Clinton High School football field. After the event, the soldiers will head to Camp Shelby south of Hattiesburg for training and deployment.

The soldiers from the 114th Military Police Unit will be returning to the war zone starting in early August.

The outpouring of donations from the Clinton campus is one of many MC community projects that reach out to people all over the Magnolia State and beyond its borders.

Making donations to the men and women of the 114th Military Police Unit makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons, said Eric Pratt, MC vice president for Christian Development.

"We have from the Clinton and MC community a number of friends and family members that are serving to provide us the freedom we enjoy," Pratt said.

"I think one thing we can do is provide our men and women from the 114th some distractions and comforts for their down time in the barracks," he said. People are also asked to donate DVDs, CDs, decks of cards and small hand held games.

Sgt. First Class Donald Young, the ROTC coordinator and instructor at MC, and member of the 113th Military Police Unit, said the soldiers will really appreciate the donations.

Young returned from the 113th last year after serving nine months with the Mississippi National Guard in Iraq. "You would be amazed at how well the care packages are received," Young said. Soldiers like the games, water guns, and puzzles. "You will play with anything to get your mind off what you are doing," he said.

Toothpaste can be hard to find in Iraq, he said. Books are good to donate, too.

Young will join two others 2nd Lt. Brittany Kelly and Sgt. James Abernathy, who will be at the send-off ceremony representing MC's ROTC Department Aug. 5. "The more the community is involved the better," he said.

Captain Micah Taylor is working with the Clinton Public School District to organize the send-off for National Guard soldiers. She's encouraged the community to attend. Gov. Haley Barbour and Mississippi Adjutant General Freeman and other military and civilian personnel are being invited.

Said Clinton Public Schools Superintendent Phil Burchfield: "We would love everyone in the Clinton community come out and show their support, and wish them well as they leave home."

In case of inclement weather, the event will be held at the Clinton High Auditorium.

The care packages from MC are one of many things being planned this summer and fall. In the new academic year, MC leaders will discuss the many opportunities available for community service projects during faculty and staff meetings at the Christian university this fall.

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