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Syracuse Marine Parents make neck coolers for troops overseas

Tracy Doss, a member of the Syracuse Marine Parents, works on a neck cooler during a work bee Saturday, March 31. The coolers will be put into care packages for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tracy Doss, a member of the Syracuse Marine Parents, works on a neck cooler during a work bee Saturday, March 31. The coolers will be put into care packages for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— “It’s just a way to give a little reminder from home that they’re not forgotten,” Nemitz said. “When we get thank-you notes back, [they say] ‘it’s nice to know that you know that we’re out here, that you haven’t forgotten about us.’ Particularly if we hear about somebody that doesn’t have friends and family that send them care packages, those are the ones that really tug at our heartstrings. Our kids, we send them stuff. It’s those guys and girls out there – nobody really does know they’re there, or they feel that nobody knows they’re there. They get a little sunshine from us.”

The care packages are a regular project the group undertakes, but the group’s main focus is supporting the parents of Marines in harm’s way.

“It’s more of a support for their parents,” Nemitz said. “We do two or more care packages a year, so that’s directed specifically at the troops, and if we knew of a need we would be there. It was intended to be a parent support group. From that came reaching out – feeling the need that we needed to do more for our kids, so we added that in maybe two or so years in that we started doing these other things in.”

Nemitz founded the group in 2004 after her son Nathan left for boot camp.

“My son-in-law was a Marine and had gone through training, but that wasn’t as close,” she said. “It wasn’t the same. When my baby went off, I was scrambling to connect with people. I connected with some online groups and traveled to Hampton, N.H. to connect with people who actually knew how I was feeling, and I was determined I was going to start my own group.”

Originally, the group, which consisted of eight to 10 members, met at Good Golly’s in Central Square. But it soon outgrew the facility. Now it meets at VFW Post 3146 on LeMoyne Avenue in Mattydale. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month.

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