Stockings for Soldiers

Bentley and Braelyn Jones help their grandparents, Troy Sr. and Mary Ann Deckert pack boxes to send to soldiers for Christmas this year. Each year the family sends 300 stockings and boxes stuffed with goodies donated from Woodward to service men and women overseas. (Photos provided)

It’s Stockings for Soldiers time again. Each year nearly 300 stockings are sent overseas from Woodward.

Troy Deckert Sr. started this journey in 2013 when his son, Troy Deckert Jr. was deployed to Afghanistan.

“My son is serving now. He’s going on his 10th year serving for the United States Army,” Deckert said. “He’s about to get promoted, Sgt. First Class at 27 years old. And he's done one tour in Afghanistan and next year he's going back again… He’s doing really, really well.”

As a father of a serviceman, Deckert knows how important little luxuries from home are for making life a little easier while deployed.

“It's our seventh year of doing it. But anything and everything that I get goes over there,” Deckert said. “I’ve learned how to pack those (boxes) really well. I’m very good at it now.”

Each year Deckert sends packages, some filled with around 10 stuffed stockings and some boxes full of extra goodies. Last year 64 boxes were sent to the Air Force, in 2017 the Marines were recipients of around 300 stockings, in 2016 the Navy received 54 boxes, 75 boxes were sent to the Army in 2015, 73 boxes were sent in 2014, and 84 boxes in 2013.

This year packages will be shipped to the Coast Guard in the first week of December so the packages reach them in time for the holiday.

Goodies service men and women particularly appreciate receiving are:

▪ Beef jerky and ramen noodles

▪ Music CD’s and movies

▪ Playing cards and hard candy

▪ Cleansing wipes and razors

▪ Toothbrushes and toothpaste

▪ Shampoo and body wash

Deckert does separate packages for service women which include hair ties, nail clippers and feminine toiletries as well.

“Whatever you take for granted here, sometimes they can’t get over there,” Deckert pointed out. “You know those little shampoo bottles from hotels, I even sent. A lady brought me a whole bunch of those one time. We sent like 50 of those over.”

Deckert said one year a bunch of taffy was donated which the soldiers used to trade with Australians for fresh milk every day.

“There's a lot of things they do over there,” Deckert said. “They (the soldiers) send pictures on Facebook a couple of times and sent me American flag and they really appreciate the letters and stuff.”

Donations to help with shipping are welcome as well. Last year, the boxes cost Deckert $1,255 in postage.

“And if they just want to send a letter or something like that, that's fine. I'll make sure I get there. I'll pack it in there, whatever they want to send,” Deckert said.

Items not to include are lighters, alcohol, chocolate or perishable foods.

Donations can be dropped off at Deckert’s home at 1724 Robin Dr. or contact him at 580-334-6468.

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