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— Troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon have more to read thanks to one local woman and the people at Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Wanting to do something to help the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines serving in those war zones, Charlene Burbee contacted Harry Haynes, Lowe’s store manager, and asked if he would allow there to be a magazine collection in his store.

Haynes didn’t hesitate in giving her the OK.

On Oct. 28, a large wooden box was placed inside the main entrance to the store, decorated with Christmas paper and four small American flags. A sign was attached stating what the box was for and that collections would be taken until Dec. 15.

Burbee and Haynes both thought that date would allow them to be shipped and arrive in time for the holidays.

Burbee said a large part of her motivation was her nephew, who just returned home from Iraq.

“He had said how much he appreciated receiving packages from home,” she said.

Already a volunteer with a number of groups in the Bella Vista Property Owners Association, Burbee contacted Volunteer Coordinator Sylvia Comacho-Green to see what they might do for the service members.

Comacho-Green suggested Burbee contact TheWeekly Vista staff who have been sending boxes of food, reading material and personal hygiene items to the troops for nearly two years now. The call lead to the idea of the reading material collection.

“Harry’s been wonderful,” Burbee said of Haynes’ enthusiasm for the idea.

For Haynes, it makes perfect sense.

“It’s giving back to the community,” he said. “If we help the community, they help us as well. It’s veryrewarding both personally and professionally.”

Haynes is no stranger to assisting the men and women in uniform, particularly those who work for him.

Last month Haynes was given the Patriot Award for his support of employees who serve in the Guard and Reserves. He received the award from Andrea Stanley, a volunteer with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The box is located justinside the main entrance to the store. It will be unloaded when need be and the material brought to the newspaper for packaging and delivery.

Any kind of magazine, excluding pornography, but including crossword puzzles, Sodoku and other similar books will be accepted.

Paperbacks are also being accepted. Please do not donate hardback books as they take up too much weight in the boxes.

The boxes sent overseas are paid for through donations.

The pre-paid boxes used by the newspaper staff cost $11.95 each. They have send 127 packages since Nov. 15, 2007.

To make a donation call 855-3724. A member of the newspaper staff will provide you with the details on how to make out your check or where to drop off cash. Please do not mail cash.

The newspaper alsohas a list of the items the troops need most.

The Vista office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Lowe’s is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sundays.

Burbee said she hopes to have collections at different times of the year, such as the Fourth of July and other significant holidays.

She can be reached at 531-1163.

Community, Pages 6 on 11/11/2009

Print Headline: Reading material being collected for military personnel

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