Serv­ing for a wor­thy cause

Lo­cal guards­man re­flects on ser­vice

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyler Smith

A man who has been de­ployed over­seas be­fore, U.S. Na­tional Guard Cor­po­ral Mark Gagne un­der­stands what a care pack­age from back home can mean. Which is why he elected to take part in Chick-fil-A’s Sup­port Our Troops Fundraiser for Op­er­a­tion Sand­box.

“ This is re­ally a wor­thy cause,” Gagne, 49, said. “ We’d like to see more peo­ple come out. I haven’t per­son­ally been in com­bat, but most ev­ery­body in my com­pany has and they re­ally en­joyed the cards and pack­ages last year, es­pe­cially around the hol­i­days.”

The Satur­day event was a first for Chick-fil-A, but would not be the last, said Vir­ginia Pear­son, the head of Op­er­a­tion Sand­box.

Dur­ing the fundraiser, cards and food items for gift bas­kets were do­nated in­clud­ing Slim Jims, chew­ing gum, pud­ding, Ga­torade sin­gles, trail mix and gra­nola bars. So far this year, Op­er­a­tion Sand­box has col­lected more than 30,000 cards for sol­diers over­seas.

Gagne said Pear­son and Op­er­a­tion Sand­box had sort of adopted his com­pany, Bravo Com­pany, many of whom have been or are de­ployed over­seas.

For the past three years, Gagne has served in the Na­tional Guard and, in 2009, he will be de­ployed to Afghanistan. Be­fore join­ing the Na­tional Guard, Gagne served for nine years in the U.S. Navy.

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