Plenty of soldiers are still working a long way from home, but getting a group of care packages to them in Saudi Arabia has proven to be a difficult task for a Salt Lake family.
While the conflict was still raging, Teri and Brad Kramer coordinated an extensive effort in their East Millcreek neighborhood to get 35 care packages put together for distribution to soldiers who may not be getting any attention from home.The 35 packages include letters from schoolchildren; flea collars donated by an area pet store - a popular item in Saudi Arabia; cassette copies of a one-hour program a local radio station donated air time for that was dedicated to the troops; and other items.
The plan was to send the packages to Brad Kramer's brother-in-law, who is with the Utah Army National Guard's 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Dhahran. He would then distribute the packages to soldiers who weren't getting much mail.
When the war ended, Teri Kramer said she wondered whether the items would still be needed. A military official at Hill Air Force Base told her that although the war is over, the troops there still need support. "So we decided to go ahead with it."
The Utah Air National Guard offered transportation for the packages, heightening the Kramers' enthusiasm but also putting them into a panic because the plane was to leave Thursday, two days ahead of when the Kramers and the group they were working with had planned to meet and assemble the packages.
The Air Guard later had to withdraw the offer when a scheduled flight to Saudi Arabia was canceled. And the search for a second mode of transit has so far been unsuccessful.
The Kramers and their immediate family members have since made dozens of phone calls that left them talking to recorded messages or polite people telling them the avenues of transit were closing off with the war ending.
The Kramers could mail the packages to Saudi Arabia but have found that option too expensive. They have made tentative arrangements to have the packages distributed to military casualties at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., if transit to Saudi Arabia cannot be found, but the problem of getting the boxes from here to Washington is about the same as getting them to Saudi Arabia.
Anyone with information on possible transportation to the area may call the Kramers at 485-6122.