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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Cancer Center supports soldiers

Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Mitzi Maranda (left), Arizona Cancer Center business accountant, and Mary Ann Brady, AZCC program coordinator, talk about the CDs and DVDs that they are donating to the Adopt A US Soldier Volunteer Program in the AZCC Monday, Oct 4. Brady propositioned her supervisors in September and got a group of 31 AZCC employees to contribute in an effort that benefits an entire platoon of military personnel.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Mitzi Maranda (left), Arizona Cancer Center business accountant, and Mary Ann Brady, AZCC program coordinator, talk about the CDs and DVDs that they are donating to the Adopt A US Soldier Volunteer Program in the AZCC Monday, Oct 4. Brady propositioned her supervisors in September and got a group of 31 AZCC employees to contribute in an effort that benefits an entire platoon of military personnel.

More than 30 volunteers have donated and helped to collect DVDs, CDs, audio books and video games in an effort put on by members of the Arizona Cancer Center.

“”Adopt a U.S. Soldier”” is a non-profit organization that aims to send letters and care packages to deployed soldiers. Mary Ann Brady, the program coordinator at the Arizona Cancer Center, took on the task of localizing the project and is focusing on the 700 servicemen and women of Task Force Gambler, a taskforce in southeastern Afghanistan.

“”(Brady) first took the idea to the director of the cancer center who said that if she undertook this project they’d support her and back her all the way,”” said Cindy Ryan, assistant to the director of the Arizona Cancer Center. “”My nephew is in the Marines and I know he’s always extremely gratified to receive these type of care packages that arrive from home, so I was eager to be able to help out too.””

“”It sounded like a more hands-on type of program where you know you’re helping out real people rather than a faceless donation where you don’t know where your money is going,”” said Mitzi Miranda, an accountant at the Arizona Cancer Center and one of the volunteers working with Brady. “”You know what you’re doing is helping out a soldier in need.””  

Miranda heard about the program after an email sent by Director Dave Alberts to 400 staff and faculty members on the Cancer Center’s listserv. Rather than mandating everyone to help, the email encouraged people to get involved and resulted in 29 volunteers signing up soon after. There are now 31 volunteers for the program.

“”I asked a representative if we, the cancer center, could be assigned a platoon or a unit because I wanted to gather volunteers who were like-minded,”” Brady said. “”So the organization gave me the name of Chaplain Ed Harris, the chaplain for Task Force Gambler that is stationed in FOB Sharanah. I emailed Chaplain Harris and told him who I was and what I was trying to do.””

“”Chaplain Harris’ first point of contact with me was to call me from Afghanistan, which startled me,”” Brady said. The two spoke about the stream of programs that the chaplain was trying to bring to the base in Afghanistan.  

The first of these programs is to create a DVD, CD, video game and audio book library. The center has received donations from a local bookstore that gave them their “”reject”” disks that were already earmarked for a recycler. The store wishes to remain unnamed, but Brady said the gift made up a hefty portion of their donations so far.

So far, volunteers have collected a total of 432 DVDs, 70 television show series, 41 motivational or instructional DVDs, 850 CDs, 125 Playstation and Xbox games and 10 audio books. In addition, volunteers have donated money for the shipping costs of getting all of these care packages to Afghanistan.  

“”Chaplain Harris has hopes of building the collection up to 3,000 DVDs,”” Brady added. She hopes UA students will become involved in the effort so they can reach this goal.

Their next program is an outreach effort called a “”soldier store,”” which will be starting in the next month or two.

“”There are items over there that the army doesn’t supply for the army men and women, or that they could use on top of what they get,”” Brady said. “”Chaplain Harris said the soldier store is booming over there and stuff goes out faster than it comes in. We are going to be helping him replenish his soldier store with things like deodorant, laundry detergent, chocolate, snacks, batteries, razors, etc.””

Brady also mentioned a third project that is already being planned.

“”We are going to be helping Chaplain Harris with an orphanage that is right outside of the base,”” Brady said. “”It is host to nearly 200 Afghan orphans ranging in age from 2 to 15 year olds. There’s a great need for food, winter clothing and food supplies.””

This project has not begun yet and organizers have not yet chosen a specific date to begin work with the orphanage.

“”It’s awesome of her that she’s undertaken this project and I hope she can get more people involved in the cause,”” Ryan said.

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