By Amy Moore
PORT NECHES — Sgt. Daniel W. Winegeart, who died in Iraq in October, is being honored during the holiday season by Neches Federal Credit Union and Val Verde Baptist Church.
For the third year Neches Federal Credit Union and Val Verde Baptist Church have collected gift box items for troops overseas.
"We wanted to give to a troop that lost one of our local boys,‚Äù Peggy Myers of Val Verde Baptist Church said. "It means so much to them and they are always so appreciative."
Myers chose Winegeart's troop to adopt for the holidays in honor of the local fallen soldier and Friday, Myers accepted a box full of supplies for the soldiers from Dawn Fournier, Marketing Director of Neches Federal Credit Union.
"Our members and employees were a big part of our collection and we did it all five of our locations,"ù Fournier explained. ‚ÄúThis box is just what we got here, there's more at the other branches," she said proudly.
The credit union began collecting items in the beginning of November and even got Groves Middle School to participate by having students write letters to the soldiers.
"Sometimes they write back and then they become like family," Myers said of the soldiers' responses to the letters. "They hear so much negativity, the letters reinforce the positive."
Val Verde doesn't wait until Christmas to get involved with soldiers overseas as the church collects year round and has for several years.
"This is something the Lord has put me in charge of and it's been a blessing to me,"ù Myers said.
Val Verde Baptist Church of Groves will continue to collect items such as CD players and CDs, prepaid phone cards, puzzle books, disposable cameras, hygiene items for men and women and personal letters to the soldiers, but needs donations of money to help ship the items.
"The last time we shipped these things, it cost about $1500 to get it to Afghanistan and Iraq before Christmas," Myers explained.
For more information, to drop off donations for the troops, or to help with shipping costs contact Val Verde Baptist church at 962-8463.