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10-year-old, his mother collect $15,000 for troops

Joey Giorgi, 10, and his mother, Sue Musgrave of Hatton, N.D., are helping make life a little brighter for U.S. soldiers around the world. Friday, the nonprofit organization they founded, Operation We Do Care, mailed more than $15,000 worth of sn...

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Joey Giorgi, 10, and his mother, Sue Musgrave of Hatton, N.D., are helping make life a little brighter for U.S. soldiers around the world.

Friday, the nonprofit organization they founded, Operation We Do Care, mailed more than $15,000 worth of snacks, sunscreen, phone cards and other items to military personnel across the globe -- from Iraq and Afghanistan to sailors stationed on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kennedy.

Musgrave, whose husband, James, is an Air Force staff sergeant stationed in Grand Forks, N.D., was inspired to form the volunteer effort about two years ago after her son became upset watching anti-war demonstrators on TV.

Musgrave said she told her son at the time, "They (the demonstrators) can't separate politics from what daddy does."

Her son then designed a sticker supporting U.S. troops and began selling them for a quarter each, Musgrave said.

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The fund-raising has since grown, amounting to $35,000 this year through the sale of magnets and other items as well as donations, Musgrave said.

The money is used to purchase necessities and treats for troops around the world and those stationed away from home within the United States.

Support from Operation We Do Care brightened the lives of area soldiers who recently completed a stint in Kosovo, said Jon Edwards, a staff sergeant with the Minnesota National Guard.

Phone cards saved troops in his company thousands of dollars, said Edwards, who lives in Fargo with his wife, Jenny, a volunteer with the nonprofit group.

Friday's send-off at Fargo's downtown post office was the largest mailing the group has made since its official formation in March 2003, Sue Musgrave said.

More than 180,000 soldiers have received direct support from the organization and many more have accessed the group's Web site, she said.

The address of the Web site is: operationwedocare.org.

Musgrave's group isn't the only one that ships phone cards and other gifts to soldiers overseas.

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Local churches and other organizations frequently use the post office for such efforts, said Duaine Hillstad, a U.S. Postal Service employee whose son, Jason Hillstad, is an Army soldier stationed in Iraq.

Hillstad said his family's church, Triumph Lutheran in Moorhead, has sent many phone cards to his son's outfit.

"They like to get those," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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