Marge Woodfin, Pilot staff writer

Friday was a red-letter day for the Brookings-Harbor Redshirts, as

more than two dozen volunteers delivered 228 packages to the Brookings

Post Office.

Although the Redshirts have been mailing packages to the troops in

Iraq and Afghanistan on the first and third Fridays of every month since

June 2006, the December mailing is always special, because of

Christmas, said Redshirts President Frank Muller.

This December was an especially large mailing, requiring approximately $3,200 postage to be paid, Muller said.

Those packages will help bring a bit of homeland Christmas cheer to many serving overseas, or recuperating in two medical units in Afghanistan, one a NATO hospital in Kandahar, the other a MASH unit at Camp Dwyer.

In this recent mailing, in addition to a number of gifts and goodies, some larger boxes were also filled with small Christmas trees and decorations. All packages include personal messages from senders to make the gifts more warm and special, Muller said.

Muller said that the 228 packages just sent brings the number of packages sent by his group to 4,869. The boxes always include enough gifts and goodies to be shared by 10 individuals.

Muller praised the community's support of the program.

He explained that it all started when a group of friends came up with the idea to send boxes of food, comfort items, snacks, sox, 49rs shirts "or anything that might make them smile."

The mailings began with names given to the group by Brookings residents and visitors, and has grown to include many different bases and hospitals.

The Redshirts and volunteers who have sent individual packages have received personal letters thanking them. They have even been visited by recipients home on leave, who came to thank them personally and tell them what a lift receiving a package gave them.

Muller complemented the U.S. Postal Service employees who help the Red Shirts by opening the office early and getting the boxes for the troops in the mail as efficiently as possible.

For information about the Redshirts, or to make a donation or volunteer to help with packages, contact Muller at 541-412-7545.