Sending care with love for the young men and women serving in the armed forces
In Feb. 23 issue, Russell County News By Greg Wells, Managing Editor
It was October of 2005 when the deployment of A Russell County soldier to a war zone started Mollie Selby on her second care campaign. This one seems to both consume her and lift her up.
This small lady has personally sent over 130 care-packages to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq since her nephew was sent overseas and there is no way of knowing how many packages have been sent by others she has inspired.
"I shop for them as often as I do for myself," said Selby.
She seems never to have met a stranger and says she asks everyone she meets if they know of anyone who has been sent to the war and if so how can she send them some comfort from home.
"No matter how you feel about this war you have to support the troops over there," Selby says.
Mollie has a history of taking up for others though. Her daughter was born a special needs child and that began her first crusade.
"Years and Years and Years ago," Mollie begins. "I became an advocate for special education in Louisville."
She started out pushing hard for classes in the school system and ended up working 27 years in the classroom.
"The first year they gave us a $200 budget," Mollie said. "Our classroom was a closet."
That was where she learned the skills she would put to use so ably in her work to support the spirits of troops stationed in the war zones now.
Betty Ellis said she, like Selby, started sending packages overseas to a family member but has also branched out to sending them to any Soldier they have a name and address for.
"The troops need to know that we're in their corner," Ellis explained. She said her church group, the Russell Springs Christian Church Guild has been active in doing just that.
"Mollie has been doing this a long time and sends packages very often," Ellis said. "Mollie really goes above and beyond what others do." For her part Selby dismisses any praise for her part in the effort.
"There are so many people out there who have made this possible," Selby said. "People in the county are very good to donate items and money. The stores a lot of the time will give me items and there are several stores that give me discounts when I'm purchasing things for the troops."
She said her church, Fairview Separate Baptist, has been instrumental in raising funds for the project and they pay all the postage for the care packages she ships over to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The one thing both women were asking for, even more than help purchasing things for the troops, is help in finding the troops.
"We're trying to get some more names," Selby says repeatedly during her interview, and anytime she met any of the staff at the paper she asked them if they know of anyone serving overseas.
When she was asked how people could send her names, Selby referred to the project being run by another church.
"Tell everyone to send in names and addresses to that address you put in the paper this week," Selby said.
The address, PO Box 509 in Russell Springs, Ky. 42642 is an effort by Ellis' group to locate more soldiers whose needs they can assist with.
For Selby it isn't about who sends what where. It is all about getting things the troops want and need to them.
As for donations she has a list at the ready, which includes the snack items, jerky, hard candy, gum and other munchies that could be stuffed safely in a back pack. There are other things though, baby wipes, cards, disposable cameras, music or movie CD and DVD or simply pens and paper to write home.
In one of the letters she has from a soldier overseas the troop wrote to her, "Mail is love in an envelope."
Selby asks that anyone willing to donate items or wanting to assist with mailings or collections to call her and she will be very happy to have their help.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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