MANVILLE, NJ - More than 300 volunteers helped Operation Shoebox New Jersey commemorate its 12th anniversary Saturday by packing 1,200 personal care packages that will be shipped to United States military personnel stationed around the world.
Several members of the Rutgers football team came to help, as did several other groups, including the Boy Scouts, Troop 193; Girl Scouts, a contingent of Stop&Shop supermarket store managers, a criminal justice club from Union County College, the Bound Brook High School Interact Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians from Somerville and members of the Canal Walk Veterans Club, Franklin Township.
The event was dedicated to the memory of Linn Smith, a longtime Operation Shoebox New Jersey volunteer who died suddenly on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.
Smith was the commander of the Canal Walk Veterans Club and would always make certain a strong contingent from the retirement community would be on hand to help out.
A Navy veteran, Smith served on a minesweeper during the Cold War from 1956-60.
“Linn was the consummate volunteer, a valued and trusted member of our team here at Operation Shoebox New Jersey,” said Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director. “He was a patriotic American, proud of his service in the US Navy, a real “man’s man” who loved his wife, kids and grandchildren.
“He was also a close, personal friend. We miss him dearly; he was truly one of a kind.”
Smith’s wife, Sue, his children and grandchildren were on hand to help prepare the care packages.
All care packages included a bag of food and snack items; a bag of toiletry and personal care items; 3 bags of loose candy, two boxes of Girl Scout cookies and cards and letters of well wishes,
Operation Shoebox New Jersey, founded in 2005, is a volunteer, non-profit corporation based in the central New Jersey area that coordinates and sponsors packing events throughout the year. Since its inception, the organization has shipped more than 127,000 care packages overseas.
Further information is available on the website at www.opshoboxnj.org.
Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey, is also managing editor of the tapinto Somerville and tapinto Hillsborough news websites.