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March/April 2011 

Our Mission:
Supporting National Guard Families Facing Deployment

182nd Infantry Regiment Send Off Ceremony at Boston College

Boy with Teddy Bear and MomThe 1st Battalion 182nd Infantry Regiment, comprised of more than 800 soldiers, held their Deployment Ceremony on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Conte Forum at Boston College. Guest speakers including, Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Massachusetts Army National Guard Adjutant General Joseph C. Carter, and Battalion Commander Colonel Stewart, joined the families and friends in saying farewell to these soldiers who will be performing missions in Afghanistan soon.

"Lt. Governor Murray recounted the history of the 182nd Infantry Regiment, which dates to 1636, and is one of the oldest of the four oldest combat regiments in the country. He said the guardsmen of the 1st Battalion share a direct link with the men who fought at Lexington and Concord."

The Regiment will relieve approximately 700 soldiers of the 181 Infantry who have been deployed since last August and will provide security for reconstruction crews in Afghanistan. (click here for video WCVB TV Channel 5 Boston).

At the deployment ceremony 230 dependent children were given stuffed soldier bears that were donated by Operation Military Kids and dressed in camo outfits through grant funding by Guard Support of Massachusetts and a donation from Blue Star Mothers.

Kimberly Potts, Family Readiness Support Assistant said, "Giving the children these bears all dressed in camo uniforms symbolizing their departing soldier was indeed comforting for the children. The smiles that these children had on their faces was precious."

The Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) of B Company of Melrose and C Company of Braintree set up tables with refreshments, t-shirts and fundraising materials. Guard Support provided Family Readiness Group start-up grant funding to both of these family support groups.

Quote from WickedLocal Wakefield, April 1, 2011: Melrose Guardsman Prepares to Serve by James Haddadin

Community Enagement
Operation Cookie Mania:  We shipped 1,850 Boxes to Deployed Troops
Barbara & Noel Kelly

 Barbara & Noel Kelly. Their son, Specialist Colm Kelly is currently serving 

in the 2nd Platoon, Charlie Co.,

181 Infantry in Afghanistan 


Guard Support provided a grant to cover the cost to ship 1,850 boxes of donated Girl Scout Cookies to deployed Massachusetts National Guard troops serving in Afghanistan and at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.


We also arranged for the donation of 960 boxes of cookies from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Council. This additional donation allowed for each deployed soldier to receive his or her own box of cookies. 


The cookies were packed up by volunteers, comprised mostly of family members of deployed soldiers serving in the 1st Battalion 181st Infantry and the 26th Yankee Brigade. The Operation Cookie Mania pack up and ship project was hosted by the Massachusetts Military Family Assistance Center in Reading. 

Photos by Kristi Pucillo 

Jill Price photo

Jill Price, Family Assistance Specialist at the Military Family Assistance Center in Reading helped with the project.


Cookies were shipped to 13 FOB's including Camp Phoenix, Lagman, Capman and Wright, as well as to Camp Atterbury, Indiana where the 182nd Infantry Battalion is training for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.  


The cookies are expected to arrive at their destinations before Easter and will be welcomed by our soldiers serving in the 1st Battalion 181st Infantry Regiment, the 26th Signal Company, the 26th Yankee Brigade and the 182nd Infantry Battalion. 


A special thanks to Kristi Pucillo, Family Readiness Group leader of the Charlie Co. FRG for orchestrating Operation Cookie Mania. She was instrumental in picking up donated cookies and coordinating the volunteer pack up and ship effort. 
Girls help box up cookies for troops

Girls of parents serving in the 26th Yankee brigade help out.

Operation Cookie Mania all started with a soldier's mom in New Jersey whose son serves with the Mass. National Guard's 181st Infantry in Afghanistan.


Shortly after her son deployed, she put out a small box at her workplace where people could contribute items to her son's unit in Afghanistan. Co-workers and visitors donated so many items that the box overflowed. Then Girl Scout cookie season arrived and boxes of cookies were donated. When some of the local Girl Scout and Brownie troops found out about the "Mom of the Soldier" they brought in their boxes of extra cookies.


Over 500 boxes of cookies arrived! This was too much for one Mom to send, so she joined forces with her son's Family Readiness Group - Charlie Co. 181 Infantry FRG. The soldier's Mom and the Girl Scout Troops of New Jersey met up with the Mass. Family Readiness Group at a truck stop in Connecticut for the cookie exchange that initiated Operation Cookie Mania.  

Eastern Bank Presents "Community Quarterback Award" to Guard Support
Sherry Handel accepts award

Photo courtesy of Eastern Bank - Left to right: Richard E. Holdbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank; Sherry Handel, Executive Director
of Guard Support; Doug Flutie, Quarterback and Spokesman for Eastern Bank 

On March 23, 2011 at the 7th Annual "Community Quarterback Award" ceremony featuring quarterback Doug Flutie, Eastern Bank recognized Guard Support of Massachusetts for outstanding community leadership.


The "Community Quarterback Award" ceremony was held on March 23, 2011 at Cradles to Crayons in Brighton, Mass. Guard Support was among 41 organizations that received a total of $600,000 in grants for their outstanding community leadership.

Sherry Handel, Executive Director of Guard Support of Massachusetts accepted the "Community Quarterback Award" on behalf of the organization. This award was presented by quarterback Doug Flutie and Eastern Bank's Chairman and CEO Richard E. Holbrook. 


The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a $10,000 Partnership Grant to Guard Support on November 29, 2010 to support our Emergency Financial Relief Program. Grant proceeds will directly assist Massachusetts National Guard families residing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts throughout the grant period.

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Our Mission: Supporting National Guard Families Facing Deployment
Operation Cookie Mania
Eastern Bank "Community Quarterback" Award
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Guard Support has helped thousands of National Guard Families through programs including:

Emergency Financial Relief Grants

To date we have disbursed 216 grants for Emergency Financial Relief to National Guard families who often face financial difficulties as a result of overseas deployment.

Family Readiness Group (FRG) Grants

To date we have awarded 81 Family Readiness Group grants providing funding to family support groups that help families facing the deployment of their loves ones.