Purdue News

November 4, 2004

4-Hers prepare Hero Packs for Hoosier military families

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension offices are distributing care packages for military families that were assembled by Indiana 4-Hers during the 4-H Congress, which took place in October at the Indiana Government Center.

The 4-Hers assembled 250 of the "Hero Packs" for families who have children between the ages of 5 and 19 with at least one parent currently deployed.

"There are 11,000 soldiers and 147 armories in Indiana," said Kathy Goedde, Youth Services Coordinator for the Indiana National Guard. "The National Guard is working with Purdue Extension offices to distribute the packs to families who need them most."

The packs contain a 4-H photo album, piggy bank, bandana, yo-yo, two stuffed animals and a flying disc. Also included is a disposable camera, a Purdue Extension "Knowledge to Go" bookmark, a brochure providing information about 4-H, and a handwritten letter from a 4-H member to the family. All the products were supplied by the national 4-H organization.

The handwritten letters offer support and thanks to the military families. The 4-Hers also share their experiences in 4-H and encourage families to become active in 4-H within their county.

In 1995 the national 4-H organization partnered with U.S. Army Child and Youth Services and Air Force Family Member Programs as a way to extend 4-H to military families and show support. The military program provides educational materials and information on how to join 4-H. In addition, youth with parents in the military can join 4-H and remain active no matter where they are transferred.

"The military programs are a national incentive by 4-H," said Chris Cook-Leitz, Extension specialist at Purdue. "Indiana is one of two states that do not have an active military base, so military families are located throughout the state. The Hero Packs are a good way to reach them."

A grant was written to cover the project for three years. Cook-Leitz said that in the next two years, 600 Hero Packs will be assembled for Indiana military families.

"The families really like the support they have gotten through the 4-H Hero Packs," Goedde said. "It has really brightened their day and made them feel better."

Writer: Molly Brock, (765) 469-2761, brockml@purdue.edu

Sources: Chris Cook-Leitz, (765) 496-1152, cookleit@purdue.edu

Kathy Goedde, (765) 463-5505, kgoedde@tsc.k12.in.us

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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