- The Washington Times - Friday, December 25, 2009

CLEAR SPRING, Md. | More than 150 troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait will get Christmas packages this month, thanks to the efforts of Roberta Nave and the Ladies of Harley.

On Dec. 4, they spent $1,552 to ship 157 boxes halfway around the world, to 147 Marines from a local unit and 19 other service members whose names they collected over the year.

The holiday shipment is the biggest yet for the Ladies of Harley, associated with Williamsport Hog Chapter 1544.

Some of the names were sent to Ms. Nave by local Marines and soldiers stationed overseas who knew of people in their units who don’t receive letters or packages from friends or family, Ms. Nave said.

“They’re fighting for us and don’t get anything from home,” Ms. Nave said during an interview in her Clear Spring home.

To raise money to send packages, the women make a quilt and sell raffle tickets throughout the year. Last year’s quilt was made from Harley-Davidson T-shirts from around the world.

This year’s quilt featured photographs of chapter members’ motorcycles, transferred onto fabric and sewn together.

Ms. Nave’s grandfather, father and brothers served in the military, she said.

“It’s very important to me for those guys to know I appreciate what they do for us,” she said.

She hears back through e-mail and letters from about 75 percent of the people who receive packages, Ms. Nave said.

Once, a young man visited the Hog chapter during one of its meetings and presented members with a flag that flew over his unit.

“He was so overwhelmed that people actually cared,” she said.

Ms. Nave and one of the Harley chapter members, Dave Monn of Shepherdstown, W.Va., shopped for a week to fill the packages.

They sent magazines, books, snacks, candy and water balloons. The water balloons seem to be a favorite of troops stationed in Iraq and Kuwait, Ms. Nave said.

Heat Factory, a company in San Diego, sent Ms. Nave 668 pairs of hand warmers, which were requested by Marines deployed to Afghanistan. Those were included in the Dec. 4 shipment.

The Harley ladies also make neck and helmet coolers, designed to be soaked in water and worn to cool people down, Ms. Nave said. Those were sent out in packages shipped in May.

The December shipment is the group’s eighth care-package shipment to troops in the four years since Ms. Nave became a Ladies of Harley officer for Williamsport’s Hog chapter.

Gail Patterson, one of the Ladies of Harley from Shepherdstown, called putting the packages together “humbling and rewarding.”

Ms. Nave calls her group “Angels on Wheels.”

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