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Solvay: Local business owner provides 'hugs from home'

In late winter, many people dream of travelling to warm destinations with plenty of sun and sand. Jody Pucello of Pucello's Restaurant and Bar in Baldwinsville and Pooch's in Solvay is looking forward to his trip on March 9. He will be touring various military bases in Iraq - and if you have a loved one deployed there - he wants to bring part of you with him.

Pucello will be travelling as part of the Ambassadors of Hollywood tour. His touring mates will be actors Adam Arkin, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, Gabrielle Tuit and former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. His touring mates will sign autographs and give hugs and handshakes, but their main focus will be to lend support to our soldiers.

Part of Pucello's mission is to bring messages from home to the soldiers. Pucello calls this part of his mission "hugs from home." He encourages people with loved ones overseas to contact him with as much information about the soldier as possible. It is easiest to reach a soldier with his/her name, unit, base and social security number. This information is kept strictly confidential.

There are no guarantees he can make contact with the soldier, but he certainly puts forth the effort. During a previous tour to Iraq, he tried repeatedly to track down a soldier who was out in the field. He ended up hanging a message from the soldier's girlfriend on a bulletin board. The soldier received it.

This tour will be the second tour Pucello has gone on this year. Since he's also fond of the mountains, he visited Afghanistan this past January with the Olympic Heroes Tour. He travelled with Olympic athletes Mike Whitmarsh, Shannon Miller, Shawn Crawford, Jessica Mendoza and Angela Ruggiero.

Jody Pucello can be reached via email at Jodypucello@hotmail.com.

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