Coshocton residents show appreciation for troops overseas

| December 28, 2017

Volunteers gathered together at Hasseman Brewing to pack boxes for troops that will be sent overseas through Operation Buckeye. The supplies packed in the boxes were collected by staff and clients from Jillian’s Salon. Contributed | Beacon

Jillian Given and Maggie Laaper were two of several children who helped decorate boxes on Dec. 27 that were being packed full of supplies for troops overseas. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Boxes packed by Coshocton County residents and their families will travel about 8,000 miles to a variety of countries and put a smile on troops’ faces.

“We get thank you notes for these on a daily bases,” said Jim Caronis from Operation Buckeye, which will take care of sending the boxes to military service members stationed overseas.

Operation Buckeye, a nonprofit organization started by Caronis who is a veteran, is headquartered in Columbus and has the sole purpose of sending boxes to troops as a way to thank them for their efforts and to bring them a touch of home. To date his organization has sent 38,000 boxes.

The ones packed in Coshocton on Dec. 27 were full of supplies collected by the staff at Jillian’s Salon and their clients.

“We wanted to give back and we figured what a better way to do that than to do something for the troops,” said Janelle Given, owner of the salon. “I think we collected thousands of items.”

They held a month-long drive for non-perishable snacks and toiletries and volunteers gathered together at another local business, Hasseman Brewing, to create cards for the troops and decorate and pack boxes of goodies for them.

“Everyone involved with starting this business is community-minded,” said Jason Given, Janelle’s husband and one of the owners of the brewery. “All of us are either in Rotary, Kiwanis or part of some charitable organization and we wanted to be able to use this place to help others. We are excited that this is our first charitable event here at the brewery.”

Also helping with the project were Janelle’s brother and sister-in-law, Ray and Jennifer Smithberger. They just started an organization called seedership, a company committed to helping individuals and organizations make the world a better place by empowering them with online tools to track acts of kindness, promote causes and say thank you.

“It’s a way you can see the long-term or ripple effect of what you do,” Jennifer said.

The Smithbergers connected with Operation Buckeye to make sure the supplies collected got to troops.

“We’ve been doing this for 14 years now and first started at the dining room table,” Caronis said. “Anyway I can help the troops I will. I have a big soft spot for them.”

Janelle was hoping they collected enough supplies for 100 boxes and with the help of all involved they came close to that goal with a total of 88 boxes.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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