Community members are urged by area veterans to join Operation Outreach and support a special operations team that is deployed to a remote area of the Middle East.
The Dalles Outpost of Point Man International Ministries supported the same unit, including a warrior who grew up in a local town, during a similar tour of duty last fall.
No further information is being disclosed about the team due to the nature of its mission.
It is important to provide comfort and care for all troops, said Dan Brophy, chaplain of Point Man, but it’s even more important to take care of hometown heroes.
Point Man worked with other organizations and community members during last year’s holiday season to collect and ship 85 care packages to Oregon National Guard soldiers in Afghanistan and a Marine special operations unit in Syria.
“Once again, you, the people of The Dalles and surrounding areas, have the privilege and opportunity to boost the morale of our troops in harm’s way,” said Brophy. “Your last outreach was a true success and your generosity greatly appreciated.”
The plan, he said, is to assemble the first set of boxes for the special operators on June 21 and then keep shipments rolling until Point Man gets word the unit is coming home.
“This team doesn’t have access to the PX (base store) so there are a lot of items they won’t be able to get,” said Brophy, a Marine veteran who lived rough during two tours in Vietnam.
He said men camping in the field can go weeks between showers and often camp out in the open and rely on dehydrated meals for daily sustenance.
“What we ask is that you show your appreciation for these combatants and provide items for the boxes or money that can be used to purchase what they want or need,” said Brophy. “We also want to provide them with things that lift their spirits.”
The temperature in the Middle Eastern country where the team is working is now in the triple digits and the men are in full “battle rattle,” said Brophy, so their physical discomfort is maximized.
He said wet wipes are useful because the team can at least partially keep themselves clean.
Also on the list of hygiene items are: medicated foot powder, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bar soap, black boot or tube socks, antifungal foot cream, hand sanitizer and lip balm.
It is too hot for chocolate at this time of year, said Brophy, so only individually-wrapped hard candies will be shipped. He said powdered drink mixes are a high priority because they make the copious amounts of water the team has to drink more palatable.
Most popular snack items are: energy drinks, trail mix, nuts, crackers, cookies, beef jerky, granola/power bars, and coffee singles with creamer and sugars. Canned food items, such as chili and SPAM, can also be sent but nothing should be packaged in glass containers.
Contributions can be left at The Dalles Chronicle, 315 Federal Street, or at Sawyer’s ACE Hardware and Rental, 500 E. Third Street, on an ongoing basis until further notice.
On another front, Point Man is planning a picnic to celebrate America’s Independence Day at Sorosis Park, 300 E. Scenic Drive, in The Dalles.
“Everyone is invited,” said Brophy.
The event will be 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on July 4 and Point Man is grilling free hot dogs for military families, veterans and community members who want to gather together for the nation’s birthday party.
Brophy said families can bring a dish to share, or a picnic of their own, and catch up with neighbors. Anyone who wants to bring an item for Operation Outreach is also welcome to do so.
“This is just going to be a great afternoon on a great day,” said Brophy. “America turns 242 on July 4 and that is something we can all celebrate together.”
Monetary donations for troop boxes can be be sent to: Point Man, P.O. Box 1775, The Dalles, OR 97058. For more information about troop boxes or the July 4 party, call Mike Knopf, outpost leader, at 541-300-0306 or Brophy at 541-980-7439.