Donors offer troops in Iraq ‘a reminder of home’

It may soon be patrolling a large oil refinery in Iraq, but Bravo Company of the 1/327 Infantry will be getting a taste of home thanks to donors in Burlingame.

The city’s chapter of the national Adopt-a-Unit program shipped 500 boxes of donated personal supplies to the 101st Airborne Division, Bravo Company when it was stationed in Iraq from September 2005 to September 2006.

Now it’s gearing up for the second donation campaign for when the troops head back to Iraq on Friday.

Volunteers led by Central County fire Chief Don Dornell gathered supplies that ranged from beef jerky to batteries to baby wipes — materials hard to come by in Iraq, and items donators say are much appreciated.

“We’ve gotten letters from them written in Iraq that would make your eyes fill up, truly,” said volunteer organizer Norma O’Connor. “They’re thanking us for thanking them.”

Burlingame selected the troops stationed in Fort Campbell in Brentwood, Tenn., in 2004 because San Mateo had just adopted an infantry unit located right next to Bravo Company.

“We’ve been doing our best to support them ever since,” said Dornell, who has visited Fort Campbell four times since adopting the unit. “It kind of breaks the monotony of where they are and it sends a message that’s kind of a reminder of home.”

About half of the troops are going back to Iraq for their second or third tour, while the other half are going for their first time.

The infantry will be in Iraq for 15 months at a base near an oil refinery in a city called Baiji about 130 miles north of Baghdad. They’ll be doing security and working with the community there.

Donations can be dropped off at the Central County Fire Station on California Drive or by calling the fire department at (650) 558-7600 to pick up donations.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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