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Operation Minnesota Nice is appreciated

When I was a kid — actually, even until I was well into my 40s — my mother would intersperse necessities into our “fun” gifts each Christmas. I could usually count on opening a box to find underwear and socks.
And, of course, we all had to display our gifts to the rest of the family. I learned not to open the package of underwear the Christmas I pulled out a pair of panties and my brother commented, “Oh, you got pillow cases?”
Most of us receive these gifts with something less than enthusiasm, bordering on disappointment.
But not everybody is as unappreciative as I am.
Linda Krueger, organizer of the local Operation Minnesota Nice effort, stopped in Friday to let me know that her group of volunteers has shipped off over 160 packages to overseas military personnel.
And she recently got an overseas phone call from one soldier who expressed great appreciation for, of all things, white socks.
Apparently, the soldier had been using the same pair of socks for a couple of months. Linda said the soldier is in a remote location, and has very little access to the necessities of life.
“He told me, ‘you ladies hit the nail on the head with your package,’” Linda related. The items we take for granted — socks, toothpaste, etc. — are scarce for many of our service people.
Linda asked him if he had also received the Christmas items packed in the box. And, indeed, he had. He had his lights and other items on display.
But what he really, really appreciated were the white socks.
Linda also forwarded me a letter from another soldier, which says, in part:
“Most of the people in my unit have received packages from the Minnesota Nice Foundation, and we are all extremely happy when one comes in. When each person opens one, we all watch like it’s Christmas morning.”
Those kinds of responses to the gift boxes assure us that the items Linda and her crew collect are greatly appreciated by those who receive them.
And Linda is quick to point out that it isn’t her effort alone. Recently, the Waconia Lions Club paid the postage for a shipment of boxes. And, of course, her volunteers — Colleen and LaDonna and more — greatly appreciate the gifts of items and cash from individuals and organizations that make Operation Minnesota Nice happen.
Linda said her group is taking a short hiatus for Christmas, but will be back at work soon packaging up more boxes to send off to service men and women.
Kudos to Minnesota Operation Nice and all its volunteers.
The letter writer summed it up nicely:
“It means a lot that you would take time out of your busy schedule to help someone you barely know. It gives me hope that there are still people out there who are selfless; that there are people out there who support us.”