Local News

January 12, 2014

The best gift

Mother and daughter thanked for their service to troops

Sharon Gray opened the box and was “tremendously sad” when she first saw the perfectly folded American flag that lay before her.

“So many have given their lives for this piece of cloth that people salute,” said Gray, a Dalton resident. “And then I thought, ‘I was special enough to them that they sent it to me.’ I felt very humbled and very grateful. It made my Christmas. That was the best gift I received.”

Gray and her mother, Anne Moore, received the flag recently as a thank you for sending packages to Marines stationed overseas.

The flag flew over Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom. The certificate enclosed reads that it flew “in the face of the enemy, amid raging battles and during decisive operations.”

“I feel so fortunate having that,” said Moore, who is retired. “This is our project together. I feel so blessed.”

For more than 10 years the mother and daughter team have bought items, packed them and shipped them to military personnel overseas, to people they don’t know. During heavy fighting times, they rarely heard from troops, but now that fighting has ceased, they have begun to have more correspondence with the people they are supporting.

“We’ve never been honored with a flag before,” said Gray, who works for the Division of Family and Children Services.

Gray and Moore shipped everything the unit at Camp Leatherneck would need to make pancakes. During the recent sequester, Gray said, troops did not have hot meals available. She wanted to send something that was easy for the Marines to make and eat hot. She found pancake mix that only needed water added, and of course, access to electricity.

They shipped electric griddles and more than 200 boxes of pancake mix, bottles of syrup, plates, forks, spatulas and everything needed except the water.

A card shipped with the flag read, “You two have made us some of the happiest Marines.”

“When I read what he had actually written, saying tears came to my eyes would be the least,” Gray said. Moore said seeing the letter made her cry as well.

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