Scout leaders help keep in touch with troops

Volunteers/Where good neighbors get together

January 22, 1991|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

MANY BOY Scouts and Cub Scouts are writing letters and sending gifts to soldiers in the Persian Gulf because of the volunteer work and time Susan Newell and her husband, Jim, of Arbutus, spent in compiling information to help them.

Susan is pack leader of Cub Scout Troop 307 at Catonsville Methodist Church and is a legal secretary for the law firm of Whiteford, Taylor and Preston. Jim is a unit commissioner in the Boy Scouts and is chairman for the Explorer Scouts of the National Pike District. He is an engineer with Westinghouse.

''When our men first went to the Persian Gulf, I knew I had to do something for them, and letters seemed the answer,'' she says.

''My involvement grew and grew. At work, my bosses helped me rTC get the proper mailing addresses. They also helped me compile a list of items that were right to ship overseas and those that should not be shipped,'' she says.

The first letter she wrote was for someone in the Army, Air Force or Marines. The correct address for them is: Any Service Member, Desert Storm, APO, N.Y., 09848-0006.

Susan sends letters regularly, including those to service men and women in the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard who are at sea. The correct address for them is: Any Service Member, Desert Storm, APO, N.Y., 09866-0006.

Within three weeks of her first letter, Newell had a reply from Ed Michler, who began his letter ''Dear Susan, Day 45 and I'm your any service member.'' Michler did not give Newell his rank but said he was in the 2nd/327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, and he wrote that they were the ones who transported all of the ammunition and water for their unit.

Newell says she made Michler's letter available for her company's newsletter. ''My firm liked that idea so much we launched a drive, and we sent 100 pounds of items overseas.

''That's when I decided that the Scouts should have this information available. After all, most of those soldiers were probably Boy Scouts and had picked up their outdoor skills by being in a Scout troop, and they would enjoy hearing from a Scout.

''At our monthly Scout leaders' round table discussion, I passed along the information sheet that Jim and I had put together and gave one to each of the leaders. They too passed it on and now every time we have a meeting I hear of more and more Scouts writing letters and sending gifts,'' she says.

Susan and Jim Newell (he served in Vietnam) say they are sure of one thing: that the greatest gift you can give a service member is a letter of support and caring.

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