Friday, April 27, 2012

Slidell dad organizes donations for troops in Afghanistan -

Less than two months ago, Salmen High School graduate Ryan Hessler, 19, was deployed to Afghanistan to serve on a United States Army base. On April 15, while many in America were at home enjoying a leisurely afternoon or attending church, Hessler’s base was attacked by four suicide bombers. While the soldiers escaped with their lives, the only thing they had left were the clothes on their backs.

a.butterfly.jpgSlidell father Robert Hessler is hoping to rally community support for a campaign to replace personal items destroyed when the barracks used by his son, Ryan Hessler, and others was destroyed in Afghanistan.

In the attack, a civilian was killed along with four insurgents. Some of the weapons recovered were 26 RPG rockets and two launchers, three AK-47 assault rifles, nine hand grenades, and several master keys.

“The last communication I had with him was Sunday night after the attack,” said his father, Robert Hessler of Slidell. “They lost everything, including their personal items, and phones, which was how they were able to keep in touch with their families through Facebook. They are responsible for buying all of their personal stuff, so we want to help make things a little easier for them.”

The project Hessler has embarked on is a fundraising drive and a call for certain items to be donated, including food and personal items.

Examples of personal items needed are toothpaste, lotion, Q-tips, black tube socks, batteries and disposable razors.

Food items needed are drink mixes, snacks and protein items, like power bars, protein shake mixes, beef or turkey jerkey.

Soldiers are in need of everything from spray-on sunscreen and deodorant to hand sanitizer, Chapstick, nail clippers and feminine hygiene products. Other personal items needed are gloves, olive drab socks to match their uniforms, and tan boot laces, as well as pens, pencils and stationary.

For those who have items needing to be picked up, call Robert Hessler at 985.285.2578 or email

For people wishing to make monetary donations, an account has been established at Home Bank, and there also is a PayPal account set up through Slidell Ladies for Liberty on the web page, Checks may be made payable to Operation: FOB Finley-Shields.

Drop-off points include Bradford Place, 836 Madison Lane, Slidell; Boiling Point Restaurant, 2998 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell; Home Bank, 2037 Gause Blvd., Slidell; Image Sun Tanning, 1071 Robert Blvd., Slidell; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, 100 Mission Drive, Slidell; Slidell Police Department located at the corner of Bouscaren and Third streets in Olde Towne Slidell; Gulf Coast Bank, 1900 Oak Harbor Blvd., Slidell; and Southern Café, 3154 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell.

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