NewsVoice for Veterans


Carroll County nonprofit sends care packages to deployed service members

Posted at 12:01 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 18:26:56-04

WESTMINSTER, Md (WMAR) — They may be out of sight but our deployed military heroes are never out of mind for a Carroll County nonprofit that sends care packages to show their support.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” said Dawn Geigan, who started America’s Warriors Care Package Project. “I didn’t have the courage to do what they do, to go over there and risk your life. They are the 1% and when you get a letter that says it’s a morale boost… it’s humbling."

It all started five years ago. Geigan’s son had just enlisted and she saw a disheartening picture on social media of troops in Afghanistan sleeping on the ground next to a military vehicle.

“That’s where they are? That’s all that we can do?,” said Geigan.

She decided to send them something. While their basic needs are covered, not all service members have access to a store or have family to send them things. She wanted them to feel comfortable and supported.

“America cares. They’re not forgotten,” said Geigan.

Word got out, her friends wanted to join in and America’s Warriors Care Package Project was born. They work with the Community Foundation of Carroll County to manage the nonprofit and have sent out thousands of care packages over the years.

“Sometimes we will send to a Chaplin and we might put a note in there to please give this to someone who’s not getting care packages, and it’s a morale booster,” said Geigan.

From Utz crab chips to mouthwash, chocolate and stress balls, the packages include lots of comfort items requested by the service member or their family.

“It is the least that we can do to come together to send a few cans of soup, send a few bags of jerky,” said volunteer Joann Riley.

“It’s always a fun time to get together and know we are helping,” said volunteer Dana Lyons.

It’s especially close to her heart, because she was able to send one to her son who was stationed in Afghanistan.

“It was really nice because you get to feel the support of people back home more than anything and knowing that people got your back when you’re out there,” said Grant Lyons.

“When we got it from our parents and our wives, it was comfort food that we wanted because all we had was MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat)… some food but not much,” said veteran William Norvell.

From 1980 to 2007, Norvell made five deployments to the Middle East for the Navy, Army and Air Guard. Now he’s involved in the nonprofit, wishing he had gotten one during their service.

“I enjoy it because I know the guys and the gals are gonna love it. They really love it when they get something like this,” said Norvell.

But this labor of love adds up. Their largest shipment of 255 boxes cost $4,500 to mail.

They’ve turned to local car groups to help them raise money, hosting monthly meet ups to fuel donations and just have fun.

“The excitement of seeing all the exciting cars… everything from classics to newer cars and just the modifications excites me,” said veteran and volunteer Ken Whitestone.

It’s even sparked a friendly rivalry between Camaros and Mustangs.

“I have not personally served in the military but my father served and I totally respect everything that troops do for us and that’s really the reason why you should come out,” said Mustang owner Chuck DeKett.

“We actually have a good time. We bring food out, canned goods, whatever and help the cause,” said Malcolm Mason with Mid-Atlantic Camaro Cruisers.

The car meet ups happening every third Sunday of the month at The Greene Turtle in Westminster from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first is April 24. Use this flyer when dining in to have the restaurant donate 20% to AWCPP.

If you can’t make it, you can donate here.

AWCPP has also partnered with Babylon Vault Company to hold a “Stuff A Trailer” drive through May 1.