Friends Pitch in to Help Marine Unique Care Packages Shipped Overseas

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Friends Pitch in to Help Marine Unique Care Packages Shipped Overseas


Byline: Tony Gordon Legal Affairs Reporter tgordon@dailyherald.com

Traditionally, family and friends of those serving in the military overseas parcel up sundries, comfort items, snacks and magazines to show they are thinking about their loved ones.

When the friends and family of Bruce Johnson decided to put together a care package for him, they knew they had to go big, because Johnson intended to spread the love around.

Nine boxes weighing 40 pounds each were dispatched to Afghanistan for Johnson, the chief executive officer of the substance abuse treatment agency Nicasa who is serving a yearlong deployment with the Marine Corps.

But along with the bags of trail mix, cartons of powdered drink mix and automotive magazines popular with those in the field, Johnson's boxes contain supplies for his hosts on the other side of the world.

Lake County Circuit Judge Margaret Mullen recalls a conversation she had with Johnson's wife, Dee Dee, at a social function not long after Johnson shipped out.

"I asked her what types of things we could send him," Mullen said. "Among the first things she mentioned were pen and pencil sets and composition notebooks, and I thought she was kidding."

Dee Dee Johnson explained the writing supplies are important currency in her husband's work with a civil action

team seeking to bond with the Afghan people.

"Pen and pencil sets are kind of revered items over there and Bruce likes to have them on hand to give to the local officials he interacts with," she said. "It gives him a chance to build a rapport with the people we are trying to win over to our side."

When the packages arrived recently at his duty station in Afghanistan, Dee Dee Johnson said, her husband was "completely overwhelmed" by all the people who got involved.

"Bruce said it made him feel proud to know there are so many people who support not just what he is doing, but what all the men and women in the service are trying to accomplish over there," she said.

Mullen was among those who got involved by reaching out within the Lake County courthouse to collect items for Johnson, who is well-liked through his work at Nicasa and prior service as chief of the former Round Lake Park/Hainesville police department.

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