Penn State Wilkes-Barre Students Travel 200 Miles For The Troops

This past spring, two Penn State Wilkes-Barre students and faculty member Bill Bachman drove from campus to the Fairfield Police Department in Fairfield, Connecticut in order to donate supplies for Give2TheTroops, collected by the Information Sciences and Technology Club.

John Ulichney and Tim Graham traveled to drop off boxes upon boxes of food, beverages, hygeine products and letter-writing paper and envelopes in the lobby of the Police Department.

"When I went on the Give2TheTroops' website, the closest drop-off point was Fairfield," Ulichney said, adding that the only drop-off points were in Connecticut and North Carolina. "We were going to ship it up, but it probably would have cost us $300 or $400 to ship it."

Ulichney said he has a lot of appreciation for men and women serving in the Armed Forces. Graham, who served in Iraq as an active duty U.S. Marine for seven months from 2005 to 2006 and for about a year from 2008 to 2009 as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, said receiving care packages from Give2TheTroops meant a lot to him when he was overseas. "I know how important this stuff is from experiencing it first-hand. The cause kind of outweighed the distance," Graham said, adding that troops always appreciate receiving snacks and something to drink besides water.

Graham said a lot of what was donated at the Police Department Friday afternoon is difficult to get at the small post exchanges, or PXs, in Iraq. He added that PXs aren't everywhere and it was nice to receive care packages from America.

Ulichney and Graham are members of Penn State's Schreyer Honors College, and Bachman, a faculty member and adviser to the group, went with the two college students and did all the driving. "It was very uneventful, very routine traffic," Bachman said of the trip from Wilkes-Barre, which Ulichney estimated took between three and-a-half and four hours. "The sun broke through into Connecticut, which was as if Fairfield had planned it that way for us."

Fairfield Deputy Police Chief Chriostpher Lyddy said the department appreciated the donation and effort by Ulichney, Graham and Bachman in making it. "We are so thankful to our new-found friends from Penn State for making this trek and helping us out with our Give2TheTroops' effort," Lyddy said. "We couldn't be more thankful, and I'm sure the recipients on the other end will be very appreciative."