'Boxes for Troops' fills local judge's closet

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By Jo Mathis

Legal News

If Washtenaw Circuit Court Judge Archie Brown's chambers are a bit short on closet space, it's all for a very good cause.

One large closet is reserved for "Boxes for the Troops," a group of Washtenaw County employees and friends who collect food, toiletries, and other supplies for the troops overseas.

Coordinator Nancy Petosky, who works for Washtenaw County Court Services, started the program about seven years ago when she sent care packages to a pen pal in the military.

Soon her co-workers wanted to help, and the program expanded from there.

"The troops deserve a taste of home that we get on a regular basis," said Petosky. "Unless people like us think of them, they don't get that."

"We sent out 85 boxes last year, which might not sound like to some people, but it touched thousands of lives, because when someone gets a box, they share it with the troops."

In fact, Petosky just picked up 60 cases of Girl Scout cookies-- courtesy of people who wanted to help the cause but not consume the calories--which will be sent to the troops.

One of the boxes will go to the daughter of Tracy Feeman, judicial coordinator for Judge Brown, who is serving in the military.

Feeman said nothing sent to the troops goes to waste, as they pass them on to other soldiers.

"We supported the troops long before my daughter joined the military," said Feeman. "So we've been doing this as a family for many years. And the joy and the comfort they've received from this--there aren't even words to describe it. They're more thankful of us supporting them than we are of what they do for us."

No one should assume that the troops already have families sending them care packages, said Judicial Attorney Laura Goderis.

"A lot of people in the military have no family, or people who care," said Goderis. "And that's our job: To care about everybody."

Goderis said Boxes for the Troops is happy to accept money instead of items.

"I love to shop with other people's money, and we will go spend it to fill those boxes," she said, smiling. "We use candy as packing material. So if you buy a bag of hard candy, that's what we use instead of Styrofoam."

"All the items and funds for shipping are from the hearts of people who care,"

said Petosky. "I talk to people when ever I can to get them to help. Even with the big pay cuts, people find a way to give."

The next round of boxes will go out the first week of April. Items must be donated by March 30. Those who would like to help, or suggest the name of someone who'd like to receive a box, can reach Petosky in Room 1108 of the Washtenaw County Courthouse, call her at 734-222-3021, or email her at petoskyn @ewashtenaw.org.

Published: Thu, Mar 15, 2012

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