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Michigan family plays Santa for Marines

 

Associated Press

Brittney Palmer, of Fort Gratiot, packs a box with some of the items that she and her family are putting together for the unit that her brother, Ryan Palmer, is attached to in Afghanistan.

PORT HURON (AP) - Gina McKillop and Brittney Palmer are going to have a big shipment to send out at the end of the month.

McKillop and Palmer, who are mother and daughter, are sending 200 packages to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 2nd Marine Division in Afghanistan, according to the Times Herald of Port Huron.

"I feel there are a lot of kids that don't have the support we have," said McKillop, of Marysville. "I feel they definitely need to know we appreciate what they're doing and definitely thinking about them."

McKillop's son, Ryan Palmer, is a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman 3rd class. He left for Afghanistan in September.

McKillop and Palmer have been having bake sales to raise money for items for the packages. They also are raffling two pairs of tickets to Red Wings games as well as baskets and gift cards donated from area businesses. Raffle tickets are $15 each.

Each package will contain at least two pairs of socks, chips, pretzels, candy, a toothbrush, deodorant, other travel-size toiletries, hand warmers, wipes, magazines, Santa hats and card games.

While McKillop and Palmer have collected a lot of items, they still need more, as well as $3,000 to ship the packages. They also want to include a homemade message in each package, so they are collecting cards or messages people want to include.

Palmer said she wanted to do the project after she heard from her mother that Marines didn't have a lot with them.

"It hurts my heart, so I wanted to do something," she said.

In addition to donations, McKillop and Palmer also are going to need volunteers Nov. 24 when they take the items and boxes to the Marysville American Legion Post 449, 299 Huron Blvd., to put the packages together and get them ready to ship. Packaging starts at 1 p.m.

"It's just to show we appreciate their service, and they are in our thoughts and prayers," McKillop said.

The packages will be shipped Nov. 25.