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MUNINET  January 2005

MUNINET January 2005

Subject:

Re: Deb Beckett & CARE PACKAGES from THE FREEDOM FUND

From:

Sandy Combs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:48:50 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (199 lines)

Hi Ann and Others,

THE FREEDOM FUND (a non-profit 501c3 set up by a deployed soldier's Mom)
in Burlington has been sending over 600 CARE PACKAGES on an on-going basis
since April 2003 to Vermont & US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran &
Germany.

Their press release announcing the upcoming fundraising SILENT
AUCTION/DINNER this FRIDAY night (Jan 28th - ELKS Club in Burlington
starting at 6:30pm) is in a separate email.

A December 16th, 2004 Burlington Free Press article write-up about THE
FREEDOM FUND is reprinted below.

I've sent a private email to DEB including a web link to the wonderful
WILLISTON OBSERVER article about her and her family which is online here -
http://www.willistonobserver.com/Article1/article7/article7.html

Plus I've asked DEB if she'd like THE FREEDOM FUND to send CARE PACKAGES
her way.

Anyone wishing to volunteer time, money or supplies to THE FREEDOM FUND
can contact BETH FRIESE directly at these home phone numbers (802)
864-3655 or (802) 864-5264 or simply email BETH at [log in to unmask]
.

THE FREEDOM FUND's website is online here -
http://www.thefreedomfund.org

Sandy Combs
Charlotte, VT

=================================================
The FREEDOM FUND - BFP Article, December 16, 2004
=================================================
Burlington Free Press (VT)
December 16, 2004

Care packages: Soldier's mom makes sure troops receive gifts from home

By Sally Pollak
Free Press Staff Writer

The great challenge in the life of Beth Friese is keeping her dogs away
from the beef jerky. She has plenty of both -- three dogs and heaping
piles of beef jerky. Never can they meet.

Friese, 53, runs a nonprofit organization, the Freedom Fund, that sends
supplies and goodies to troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
She started informally and immediately when her son, Daniel Mayka, an Army
specialist, was deployed to Iraq in April, 2003. Friese mailed packages to
him and other members of his unit.

Mayka, 23, now stationed at a U.S. Army base in Germany, left Iraq last
summer. But Friese understood what the packages meant to Mayka and the
other recipients, an ever-expanding group. Her commitment to buying items
and shipping packages coincided (and grew) with the deployment of hundreds
of Vermont National Guardsmen bound for the Middle East.

She is still operating at a rapid clip, sending troops care packages
filled with everything from batteries to blankets, magazines to munchies.
Atop the troops' request list is Vermont-made beef jerky. "I have guys
from Texas asking for it," Friese said.

One year ago, Friese gained nonprofit status and established the Freedom
Fund (www.thefreedomfund.org) as a tax-exempt organization. From her home
in the New North End, which has been overtaken by the effort, Friese packs
boxes, fills out U.S. customs forms, raises money, oversees the volunteers
who drop by to help, and individualizes orders before mailing them. "I
spoil them," she said. "Like my own kids."

A soldier named Roger Nadeau, who let it be known that he likes tuna fish
and Golf magazine, will receive both in a forthcoming shipment. Joseph
Plunkett, who Friese said is "freezing in a tent in Afghanistan," will
soon get blankets and socks and People magazine, a favorite.

"I try to cheer them up," Friese said. "I have to do something because I
feel sorry for them -- I just do." Friese estimates she has spent "well
over" $5,000 of her own money and devotes 80 hours a week to the Freedom
Fund.

"Even when I feel burned out I think, if I feel lousy imagine how those
soldiers feel," Friese said. "And then I get over it."

Her 16-year-old son Stefan, who opened the refrigerator to show that his
mother has still had time to feed the family, suggested that Friese also
is getting something out the work. "It's tedious work and it needs to be
done, and somebody needs to be doing it," Stefan said. "She spends a lot
of time on this, and I think has that feeling inside that you get when you
do something good."

Friese found that the family support networks are stronger and more
effective for National Guard families than off-base U.S. Army families,
she said. She has forged a connection with the family readiness programs
of the Vermont National Guard, which she said welcomed her. This alliance
between an active-duty family and the Vermont National Guard is a special
one, said First Lt. Veronica Saffo of the Vermont National Guard.

Friese's work is important for a number of reasons, Saffo believes.
Perhaps its most important function is the show of support from home
amidst growing concerns about the course of the war, Saffo said. Such
skepticism and questioning tends to make soldiers wonder if they have
support at home, she said.

"I think these packages and stockings and cards let them know that their
important work is being appreciated not only by family and friends, but by
people across Vermont who don't even know them," Saffo said. "People who
respect their commitment to service and are making sacrifices."

On a recent wet and chilly afternoon, the driveway and street at Friese's
home were filled with cars bearing the yellow ribbons of support for the
troops. Inside, a group of people had gathered to help fill 23 large boxes
that were shipped out mid-week. This shipment was the second major load to
leave Friese's house in the past week.

Last weekend, Friese sent 192 stuffed stockings overseas, stockings that
were made and donated by members of a local church. Together, these two
mailings totaled 836 pounds and $598.05 in postage. Friese said they'll
reach the soldiers in 10 days to two weeks. She pays up to a third of the
freight costs herself, Friese said. "That's why we really need donations,"
she said.

Chris Brutzman, 21, a house painter from Stowe, was one of the helpers. He
said he'd serve in Iraq at "the drop of a dime" but a back injury prevents
him. "I'm important for the morale and to keep them sane while they're
over there."

Also pitching in was Elizabeth Parizo, 41, of Colchester. Parizo's
brother, William Normandy of East Barre, died last March while training in
Kuwait. "I can't let them be there by themselves even though my brother's
gone," she said. "I can't let them be alone."

In an upstairs bedroom, Friese's husband, Uli Friese, and a friend who
designed the Web site, Gary Sullivan, were working on the computer.
Sullivan was setting up the site to recognize financial supporters online.
He took a break to explain his interest in helping out. "Uli and Beth are
engaged in a form of activism that is humanly important and of value to
the guys over there," Sullivan said.

Uli Friese, who joked that his wife devotes "too much" time to the
project, thinks it won't end soon. "My prediction is that it's going to go
till the last soldier comes home," he said.

Downstairs, people were making sure that the soldiers in Afghanistan got
the blankets and the ones in Iraq got the foot powder. Randi-Lynn Dusharm,
21, helping pack boxes, said that when her cousin returned from Iraq he
wanted to find Friese to thank her for the beef jerky.

"It made his whole time there," she said.

Contact Sally Pollak at [log in to unmask] or 660-1859

Box: More information

WHAT: The Freedom Fund, a Burlington-based nonprofit that ships supplies
to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

WHERE: The home of Beth and Uli Friese in the New North End

UPCOMING EVENT: The Freedom Fund's silent auction, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at
the Elks Club, North Avenue; $25 ticket includes dinner.

INFORMATION: 864-5264, http://www.thefreedomfund.org or P.O. Box 3337,
Burlington, Vt., 05402

Copyright (c) The Burlington Free Press. All rights reserved. Reproduced
with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: bur2004121714450194
=================================================

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Shipping of packages
From:    "Anne Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
Date:    Mon, January 24, 2005 10:10 am
To:      [log in to unmask]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, just checked with Mailboxes etc., they will package for free, not
ship. Anne

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Deb Beckett
From:    "Anne Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
Date:    Mon, January 24, 2005 10:07 am
To:      [log in to unmask]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi All,
Is anyone interested in getting together to send care packages every month
to Deb and her unit?  Or is anyone already doing this and where can I send
a contribution.  I have wanted to send something to the troops, but
haven't know where to send it.  It would be nice to send to a "local".
The Mailboxes etc. in Rutland has advertised that any package to a
serviceperson in Iraq ships free, so we could use any money contributed
for supplies.  I'm not sure what to send? Let me know what you think.
[log in to unmask]
Anne Haley

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