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Get on your boots!
Alpha Battery wives planning boot drive fundraiser
Boots horizontal
Vicki Socia, left, and Rebecca Zeigler, right, hold combat boots at the intersection of Highway 21 and Fort Howard Road to show where the Boot Drive to assist the men of local Alpha Battery will take place on Oct. 17. They welcome cash donations as well as small items that can be sent to the soldiers as tokens of home for Christmas. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

Two local Alpha Battery wives announced plans for a boot drive on Oct. 17 to help provide some Christmas relief for the men of Effingham County’s National Guard unit.

Rebecca Zeigler and Vicki Socia asked Rincon City Council for its support of their day of activities. They plan to have a couple of Humvees on display as well as the recruiter’s rock wall and other activities for the kids.

“We’re gong to go out there in the intersection of (Highway) 21 and Fort Howard Road, with our combat boots, walk up and down and try to collect some money,” said Socia.

The spouses are hoping to send goody bags over to the soldiers currently in the middle of a deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“They don’t need a whole lot of material things,” Socia said. “But they like to get little snacks and drink mixes and game books. We want to put something together for every soldier so we can make sure every soldier gets something for the holidays and then if we have any families that need help for the holidays, we have some money to help them out.”

The wives also want to provide Christmas gifts at the unit’s annual Christmas party if possible. And there’s also the unit’s big homecoming party to prepare for.

Alpha Battery of the 1/118 Field Artillery Battalion has just over 100 soldiers. The unit is currently deployed to Afghanistan and are scheduled to return home next spring or summer.

The wives are hoping that the boot drive will provide a fun day for area kids and at the same time, raise funds and other donations to help provide a nicer Christmas for the soldiers while they’re away at war. The volunteers are asking that donated items be small and light and non-perishable like candy, gum, peanut packs, magazines, word puzzles — little things to remind them of home.

Both ladies said that the men say conditions in Afghanistan are much more rustic than was the case in Iraq, where the unit was deployed in 2005-06.

Living conditions in Afghanistan are a lot worse than in Iraq, they said, and the country is not as civilized or modern as Iraq. It is also an entirely different combat scenario from their last overseas deployment.

They said the atmosphere is a lot more tense for the men and that they have even had to build and repair their own living spaces.

The boot drive will be held Oct. 17 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. To volunteer, donate or to get additional information, call Zeigler at 754-4040 or Socia at 826-0035.