America Supports You: Girl Collects Batteries for Troops
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2005 Batteries are the lifeblood of many things electronic. Without them, most CD players, digital cameras and handheld games are essentially useless.
Lizzy says her favorite Navy SEAL, Capt. Robert Hayward, showed her "how important it is to be mentally strong." Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
When 12-year-old Lizzy Lulu, of Lancaster, Calif., learned that American servicemembers in Iraq often use these electronic devices, she decided to launch a campaign to collect 1,000,000 "AA" batteries.
"I knew that they would not have enough batteries to keep them running, so I started to collect batteries to send to them," Lizzy said.
"Through this battery campaign we hope to give the men and woman serving overseas a little bit of joy," added Lizzy's mother, Jennifer Petty.
Lizzy and her mother have set up various collection locations in their area and have received batteries from across the United States, Petty said.
All batteries collected will be donated to Operation Gratitude, where they will be divided up and shipped to troops in care packages. Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit organization providing a way for Americans to send items to servicemembers stationed overseas.
Lizzy has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting about 30,000 U.S. children and adults, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Web site. "A defective gene causes the body to produce an abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections," noted the site. "These thick secretions also obstruct the pancreas, preventing digestive enzymes from reaching the intestines to help break down and absorb food."
Lizzy's mother says that her daughter never lets her illness stand in the way of her goals. For instance, she said, Lizzy loves to draw and hopes to be a famous artist when she grows up.
Her other goal in life is to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, Petty said.
Due to her illness, Lizzy understands the importance of helping others, and she has not allowed her frequent hospitalizations or her strenuous daily medical routine to stop her from enjoying each day to the fullest, Petty said.
Lizzy has several friends in the military, including her favorite Navy SEAL, Capt. Robert Harward, deputy commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif.
"When I met Captain Harward, he showed me how important it is to be mentally strong. Whenever I am in the hospital, I think about the SEALs and other men and women who are serving our country, and I get more inspired to have a strong will to help me get better," Lizzy said.
Lizzy was also invited to attend several special military events, including the dedication of the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument at Cism Field, on the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, on May 21.
"It was very interesting, I learned more about the history of the Vietnam War, and I was able to meet many servicemen and women," Lizzy said. "I was very lucky to be there, and I hope that I can attend more events to let people know about the battery project."