Volunteers pack holiday boxes for military members

Betty Dermyer, Mel Harris, Maxine Ingraham and Carol Wallace pack 12 boxes of Christmas goodies for active service men and women.

Betty Dermyer, Mel Harris, Maxine Ingraham and Carol Wallace pack 12 boxes of Christmas goodies for active service men and women.

Star photo/Shanna Avery

BALDWIN — For more than two decades, a tradition to remember active service men and women in the U.S. Military during the holidays, continues in the Baldwin area.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, at AMVETS Post No. 1988, Betty Dermyer, who was one of the original organizers of this event 23 years ago, and her helpers packed holiday-themed goodies in large boxes to be received by 12 members of the U.S. Armed Forces, with eight overseas and four state-side.

"We love to do this," Dermyer said. "I began 23 years ago with me and my husband (Mike Dermyer, former Lake County undersheriff), Mr. and Mrs. Bramer, and Roy and Drew Johnson."

Some of the items packed in the boxes include home-baked cookies, made by volunteers, 2023 calendars, puzzle books, candy canes, Christmas stockings and more.

"Lowes donated the boxes, and Lake-Osceola State Bank takes care of any costs from UPS. Jamie at the bank writes a Christmas letter to go in each box," Dermyer continued.

Some excerpts from the letter reads:

"For those serving our country, we often wonder what the holidays mean for you and hope you are finding joy wherever you may be in some way. The reason you are not with friends and family this holiday season is not lost on those who know and love you.

"Your selflessness and dedication to protect our freedoms is so very precious to us all and we could never appropriately show just how thankful we are.

"For this holiday season, we would like you to accept these tokens of gratitude for your unwavering bravery. The goodies were made and packed with much love and prayers for your safe return home."

Dermeyer said this effort wouldn't be the success it is without the volunteers. Maxine Ingraham has worked with Dermyer the past 11 years. Also packing boxes this year were Carol Wallace and Mel Harris.