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Holiday shipping event to support soldiers has successful first effort

Sat, Dec 9th 2017 07:00 am
Yusuf Mojawalla, left, and Will Soos stand with some of the boxes destined for active-duty military members this holiday. Donated items were sent from the Island Ship Center, owned by Mojawalla's family, in a program thought up by Soos' father, Patrick. (Photo by Cheryl Chamberlain)
Yusuf Mojawalla, left, and Will Soos stand with some of the boxes destined for active-duty military members this holiday. Donated items were sent from the Island Ship Center, owned by Mojawalla's family, in a program thought up by Soos' father, Patrick. (Photo by Cheryl Chamberlain)
By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Active-duty servicemen and servicewomen away from their hometown this holiday season will soon receive care packages from Islanders following Saturday's first-ever support-a-soldier shipping event.
The Island Ship Center on Baseline Road took donations of money and care packages and shipped them at a discount to military members away from home.
The fundraiser was inspired by veteran Lt. Col. (Ret.) Patrick Soos, his son, Will, together with Yusuf Mojawalla and his parents, Seema and Fahim of the Island Ship Center on Baseline Road.
"The turnout was good, even on a short notice," Seema Mojawalla said in the shipping center. "We had this whole area filled up with donations."
"We raised over $500 in cash donations, which we're using all for shipping," said her husband, Fahim.
Organizers of the event were "overwhelmed by the amount of support that Grand Island has given us," said Yusuf Mojawalla Saturday. "I was telling my dad, if you really want to get Grand Island going and get everyone involved, do something about the veterans."
Fahim Mojawalla said one donor, Jim Watz, who taught at West Point "was so touched that he brought in $100 and another address" when he read about the endeavor in the Island Dispatch, which ran articles in the issues of Nov. 24 and Dec. 1.
The goal is that no active-duty military serving away from home should go without a care package this holiday.
"I know next year the whole town can pull together and make this a very successful event, where we will have hundreds of packages that go out," Seema said. "But we just need a little bit more time. And this was the kickoff."

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