- Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom
Brain Moore speaks during MooreMart's breakfast salute to our troops Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at the Grappone Center in Concord.
- File photo by Bob Hammerstrom
Paul Moore, one of 22 finalists for three Citizen Service Before Self Honors in March, spoke at a salute to U.S. troops event in Concord in March 2010.
- Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom
MooreMart supporters gather for a breakfast salute to our troops Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at the Grappone Center in Concord.
Breakfast held to honor military, encourage sending care packages
CONCORD – During Brig. Gen. Stephen Burritt’s deployment to the Middle East, he received a care package from home.
Inside, among the goodies, was a crayon-covered card from a young New Hampshire student.
“Save our country!!” she wrote, punctuating her plea with a smiley face. On the inside, she wished him well, adding, “Try not to get hurt.”
To Burritt, the card from a kid he’d never met was the best part of the package. Now, he and others are trying to drum up more public support for military care packages, which will be needed this year and next as New Hampshire prepares for its largest single deployment of armed forces since World War II.
Burritt and dozens of other members of New Hampshire military were honored at a breakfast in Concord on Wednesday, which simultaneously served to generate interest in MooreMart, a nonprofit group that provides care packages to local armed forces serving overseas.
“We owe them our respect, and we have an obligation to make sure they’re cared for during their deployment and when they come home,” said Paul Moore, co-founder of the organization.
In 2010 and 2011, New Hampshire will send about 1,700 soldiers, sailors and airmen to the Middle East, Moore said – the state’s largest deployment since the 1940s.
The previous largest single deployment since then was Vietnam, said Maj. Greg Heilshorn, of the New Hampshire National Guard, when 500 guardsmen were deployed at one time.
Heilshorn confirmed that the guard will send 1,110 members this fall. The Marine Corps Reserve in Londonderry is scheduled to send up to 180 people next summer, Maj. Jason Climer said.
The rest of New Hampshire’s contingent are active duty members scattered throughout the country.
“I have been recipient of packages in my deployments,” Climer said, adding that other Londonderry-based reservists have been, too.
“You expect packages from your wife, family and friends, but when some random citizen supports you and your endeavors, and you’re deployed and away from home, it’s a morale booster.”
Moore, of Nashua, and his sister, Carol Moore-Biggio, started MooreMart five years ago when their brother, Brian Moore, a sergeant first class in the Army, and his unit were sent to Iraq.
The project – named after a soldier who joked that the Moores provided more supplies than Walmart – grew quickly in popularity, and now sends 500 packages every eight or 10 weeks to New Hampshire soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Middle East. In five years, MooreMart has shipped nearly 25,000 care packages.
In addition, Paul Moore said, the organization has shipped 2.7 tons of relief supplies to schools and orphanages in Iraq and Afghanistan. Within those shipments have been 7,200 Beanie Babies, 5,000 cases of Girl Scout cookies and 2,200 packages of s’mores stuff – along with some toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Brian Moore, who is from Litchfield and taught at Nashua Christian Academy, is retired because of injuries he incurred during his last deployment. He described the joy of giving backpacks to Afghan children, along with pens and school supplies.
He also recalled how some soldiers – especially those without family – received the packages.
“For some of them, it’s the first piece of mail they’ve ever received in life, other than a bill,” he said.
Capt. Christine Chambers, of Manchester, told the crowd how her troops reacted to receiving care packages during deployments, which featured 12- to 15-hour workdays.
“It gives you the boost you need to get through the next day and reminds you there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Chambers said.
Paul Moore encouraged the breakfast crowd – which consisted of active duty military, veterans, supporters and legislators – to continue their efforts by writing cards, adopting units and attending MooreMart packing events.
For more information about MooreMart, visit www.moore mart.org.
Karen Lovett can be reached at 594-6402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.