The front lines may be a long way from Auburn Hills, but through a partnership between Jeep® and the USO a taste of home just got a lot closer.
More than 200 FCA US employees recently gathered to pack 2,520 care packages for service men and women filled with travel-sized hygiene products.
“It was really important to have our men and women that work here every day, and represent FCA and Jeep, to be a part of helping our service men and women,” said Kim Adams House, Head of Jeep Brand Advertising, FCA US LLC. “It is important for us to recognize the selfless sacrifices they make on behalf of our country.”
The USO Care Package Program is the latest in an on-going partnership between Jeep and the USO that began in 2012.
The USO Care Package Program is the modern-day version of the care packages Americans packed in years past, but instead of boxes filled with little “tastes of home,” volunteers stuffed Toiletry Packs in lightweight travel packs. These packs are desert tan in color and constructed with durable nylon material.
The packs have a M.O.L.L.E. (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment) system on the back of the pouch for attachment on most military issued gear. This allows the service men and women to save space on the inside of their back packs for mission-essential items.
After the care packs were filled with toiletries, they were sent to a warehouse. From there, the packs were distributed to service members who are about to be deployed and to those who are serving overseas in locations including Afghanistan, Africa and southwest Asia.
For U.S. Marine Corps veteran Lee Harrison, who is an Electronic Bill of Materials (EBOM) analyst with FCA, taking part in the packing effort was personal.
“It means everything,” he said.
Harrison said serving overseas can be a solitary experience, where you may hear only from family or members of his unit.
“You really think civilians don’t care about you,” stated Harrison.
Then he got a care package from a Boy Scout troop filled with candy and “stuff we didn’t have access to” after being the field for a few weeks.
“Coming back to that was just amazing,” he said. “It’s heart lifting and enlightening.”
Regina Murray, who is also an EBOM analyst with FCA, shared Harrison’s appreciation of receiving care packages while deployed. Murray was in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves for 18 years and served in Iraq, Honduras, Kuwait and Afghanistan. While serving in those countries, sometimes receiving the little things you need can really boost morale.
“If you are somewhere and don’t have shampoo and you can’t wash your hair, and you get package with shampoo in it, that’s gold,” said Murray. “You don’t know what it is like to be somewhere far away without access to things like that. It means so much.”
The care packages packed by FCA employees not only provide needed items for service members serving in far-away places, but also create a connection.
“It is a connection to something they have here in the states … connecting them to family, home and country,” USO Senior Account Manager Kirk Parker said. “These care packages may be small, but they mean a lot. It gives you a lot of love, it gives you a connection to your family, to your home and to those things you left behind.”
For more information about the USO and its mission, and to support the organization, visit the USO website uso.org.