"We're calling this 'Operation Holiday Memories' because we are trying to
get five of our local military personnel back home for Thanksgiving before
they join Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Charlotte Hill. While they have
permission to leave their current post in Indianapolis for the holiday, the
issue is that they don't have the funds to buy the plane tickets, Hill said.
"For most of these families, this would be such a financial hardship that
they would not be able to come home. This will be both their Thanksgiving
and Christmas time with their families."
The five service personnel, Sgt. Tyler A. Antrim, Sgt. Jeremy Hull, Spc.
Teaira Turner, Spc. Everett "Nick" Owens, and Spc. Antonio Turner, are from
the Liberal and Garden City area. They would arrive Nov. 22 in Liberal and
depart Nov. 26. As soon as they return to base, they are expecting overseas
"We have a deal with Great Lakes Aviation that we can get them all home for
$500 apiece round trip if they travel together, " Hill said. "Now all we
need is to see if we can get the funds to pay for their tickets." The goal
of the fund is $2,500.
A special fund has been set up with the Whirlwind Career Counseling Center
for Veterans and First Responders. "We were thrilled to be able to help out
with this project," said Ed Poley, director of Whirlwind. "We wanted the
public that could help out to be able to take it as a tax donation and
that's why Whirlwind, as a 501C3 non-profit agency, agreed to set up a
special fund specifically for this. If we get funds beyond what is needed
for these five individuals, we will keep it in a special fund for emergency
Individuals and business interested in contributing to "Operation Holiday
Memories" can make the checks out to the Whirlwind Career Counseling Center
and put "OHM" in the memo line and it will be designated to that fund.
Checks may be mailed to Whirlwind Career Counseling Center, PO Box 238,
Liberal KS 67905, dropped by the Whirlwind Office (which is located at
Windtree Management) at 130 W. Pancake, or dropped at the receptionist's
desk at First National Bank's main branch, 1700 N. Lincoln. For more
information about Operation Holiday Memories, call Hill at 626-3203, or
Poley at 624-7684 or 482-3431.
"We will let the public know when we have met the goal and when we know
we'll be able to get our people home for Thanksgiving," Hill said.