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Texas Realtors Send Support to U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2004 – A Texas realty company has stepped up to provide snacks, socks and myriad other items to members of a U.S. Army unit now serving in Iraq.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Members of Virginia Cook Realty in Dallas, Texas, are supporting members of a U.S. Army unit in Iraq through the company's Adopt-A-Soldier project. The realtors collected more than $4,200 to purchase a Christmas tree and decorations, popcorn and other snacks, socks, underwear, paperback books and more. The items should reach the soldiers in time for Christmas. Front row from left: Judy Dawson, Philip Walker and Virginia Plekenpol. Back row: Kathleen Hampton, Linda Claycomb, Virginia Cook, Sandra Ehlert and Jan Matise. Courtesy photo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Virginia Plekenpol, a realtor with Virginia Cook Realtors in Dallas, noted that U.S. troops serving overseas in harm's way in places like Iraq and Afghanistan "are protecting us thank heavens for them."

Plekenpol said her stepson, Army Capt. Chris Plekenpol, and his 92-soldier company were deployed from Korea for duty in Iraq in September. The captain's unit, Apache Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, she said, supported U.S. Marines during the Fallujah campaign conducted in early November.

During Thanksgiving week, she said, the captain e-mailed a request for items for his men.

With the blessing of Virginia Cook, the company's owner, Plekenpol said she and co-worker Linda Claycomb started the Adopt-A-Soldier project. The realtors, Plekenpol noted, collected more than $4,200 used to purchase a Christmas tree and decorations, popcorn and other snacks, socks, underwear, paperback books and more.

A local military contractor, PulseTech Products Corp., provided shipping material and arranged free delivery of the items, Plekenpol said, while Clement Foods of Oklahoma City donated 20 cases of peanut butter and jelly for the soldiers.

Captain Plekenpol's young cousins, she added, provided 85 Beanie Babies to send to the soldiers to give to Iraqi children.

Earlier this week, 1,200 pounds of items were shipped in 44 boxes to the captain's unit to Iraq, Plekenpol said. The realty company, she said, also is preparing to send 300-400 cards with messages of support to the soldiers.

Plekenpol said the items and cards should reach the soldiers by Christmas. "I just don't think there's any finer valor to be found than protecting your country and the things that you believe in," she said.

Cook stated in a press release that her company is proud to support Capt. Plekenpol and his unit. "Showing our love, care and concern by sending Christmas to them," Cook said in the release, "is a small price to pay for the tremendous sacrifices they are making to protect and serve us all."

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