MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- For Marine veterans, the days of slogging a rifle in every clime and place have long since passed. The relationships these grizzled warriors have with the Corps, however, drives many of them to stay connected to the organization with which they identify so strongly. They understand there are other ways to support their fellow Marines besides providing covering fire or bandaging their wounds.
Marine Corps League of South Carolina did their part for this effort here Aug. 3 when they delivered thousands of pounds of donated goods collected from charitable organizations around South Carolina to II Marine Expeditionary Force.
“What II MEF asked me to do was to not do anything,” said retired Maj. John T. Hopkins, detachment commandant, Marine Corps League and organizer of the donation drive, titled Operation Footlocker. “[II MEF chief of staff] e-mailed me a list of what they wanted. It was things like shower shoes, toiletries, things such as that.”
Working from that list, Hopkins sent out requests to churches, schools and other organizations to fulfill the “wish list.” This call to action is where people like Kathleen S. Daugherty, a Buffalo, S.C., native and mother of Sgt. Zachary E. Daugherty, a communications specialist with 2d Marine Air Wing, stepped in.
”As a Marine mom whose son was fixing to deploy to Iraq, I felt I needed to do
something to support him and all of our troops that we have overseas, so I became
involved with Operation Footlocker,” said Daugherty.
Daugherty said she worked within her church association to organize various fund -raising and donation drive events. Footlockers were on hand at these community actions to display the items being requested for donations.
From there, said Daugherty, the items collected were forwarded to Hopkins for delivery to Camp Lejeune.
Tissy D. Smith, wife of retired Marine and associate member of the MCL, worked with Daugherty in the collection effort.
“[Hopkins] mentioned that the troops had sent a wish list, so I went to the commandant of our detachment and asked him if we could start a drive,” said Smith. “[Daugherty] and I just took the ball and ran with it. We had drop-off points where anybody in the community could come and bring these items in. We went to the newspapers and television, and got the whole community involved.”
Being able to help Marines in any way she can means a lot to Daugherty, she said.
“Words cannot describe what it feels like to support the cause, the efforts that are being shown overseas,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be able to wake up in a free America. I know that when we do it’s because of the Marines and their service to our country.”