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Troops’ guardian angel gets nod

Beeler joining Manteca Hall of Fame

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Troops’ guardian angel gets nod

Susie Beeler with some of the items she collects for the Treats for Troops effort.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED April 5, 2010 1:35 a.m.
Susie Beeler - a woman who took  it upon herself to make sure those from the South County and elsewhere who are fighting the Global War on Terror aren’t forgotten - is being inducted into  the Manteca Hall of Fame.

The dinner and induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame take place Saturday, May 1, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $40 apiece and available at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St., or by calling 239-KIDS.

Other members of the Class of 2010 are Evelyn Prouty, community service; Sammy Davis, special recognition; Dick Durham, education; Kirt Giovannoni, education; Dr. Mel Larson, health care; Gail Perry, business; and Janet Dyk, agriculture.

Beeler is being inducted at large.

Treats for Troops - a monthly undertaking that sends an average of 100 packages a month containing everything from baby wipes, deodorant, Kool-Aid, medicated foot powder, beef jerky, and Kleenex to cookies, crossword puzzle books, and magazines to those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq - started in the spring of 2004.

That’s when her grandson Wesley was assigned to military service in Afghanistan. She talked to him on phone and told him she’d be sending cookies as a treat as a reminder that she loved him. Wesley responded he appreciated that but his mother was already keeping him well supplied with cookies and letters but there were literally dozens of others serving with him who never got anything from home.

That prompted Beeler to put together four good-sized boxes with contents valued at $1,000 and send them to soldiers in Afghanistan.

From that, Treats for Troops was born. She found out an affordable way to mail boxes, how to pack them to get in as much stuff as possible, how to keep cookies from crumbling en route and how to garner more support and secure funds to make it all happen.

She reached out to family, friends, church members, Sorptimists, and motorcycle clubs. Eventually other clubs joined in with the Manteca Soroptimists taking the project under its umbrella so donations could be tax-deductible.

More than a hundred servicemen receive packages every month built around a theme such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Hot August Nights, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and such. For Mothers Day and Fathers Day they also receive cards in their packages that they can mail home.

Beeler was active in St. Anthony’s School giving countless hours as secretary and president of the Parent Teacher Group. She organized the first salad fundraiser to help purchase playground equipment.

She has been an active member of the Atlanta Women’s Club since moving to the Manteca area in 1950 as a young bride.

For the past 60 years she’s been a hard-working member of the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club based in Ripon. She has served as secretary, treasurer, and president.

Ken Hafer, a Swiss Club member, called Beeler’s countless “hours working events and maintaining the Swiss Hall and park “ in Ripon “legendary.”

Beeler has been a member of Manteca Soroptimists since 1972 and has helped raise funds for everything from the teen crisis center to the Raymus House Family Shelter. She was the originator of the idea to stage the annual theme luncheon.

She lives along with her husband Louie on French Camp Road.

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