When Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Administrative Assistant Joanie Teeple got a phone call from a member’s mother calling on behalf of her son who was on active duty in Iraq, she got to thinking about doing something special for the NRCC’s active military service members.
Joanie, a U.S. Navy Veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, knew how good it felt to receive packages from home. “When I was in Kuwait during the heat of summer, my family would send me care packages – it felt like Christmas.” The idea for a Council military care package was born.
Joanie brought her idea to the attention of E.S.T. Michael Capelli. E.S.T. Capelli, who has a son currently serving in the Army, was quick to give his full support. With additional participation from Council Representative Bob French who is the father of an active service member and the support of the Membership Assistance Program (“MAP”) through its Chairman Andy Pacifico, the Veterans Affairs Committee (“VAC”) was formed. Working in partnership with the VAC, Joanie led the effort to create a budget and a sample care package that was inspired by her own experiences overseas.
The simple package contains much needed toiletries including ear plugs, cleansing wipes, and hygiene products; back issues of the NRCC Update and Carpenter Magazine; and lots of “gedunk” - a military term for junk food. Local t-shirts, hats and stickers round out the package, but the most important item is a card signed by the service members’ home Local Brothers and Sisters.
The first wave of packages was shipped out to members in Afghanistan, Germany and California just in time for the holidays. The next wave is scheduled for delivery in May. The content of the packages will vary slightly based on post and time of year, but the message is always the same, “It is important to let our members know that people at home are thinking of them.” Joanie said.
The positive impact these packages have had on members cannot be underestimated. The project has also inspired other staff to get involved with the Veterans Affairs Committee. If you have ideas for the committee, or have information on members who are serving, or who have children in the military, please contact Joanie Teeple firstname.lastname@example.org.