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Enjoy some laughs Friday & support our troops

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Enjoy some laughs Friday & support our troops

Chuck Palmer shows off a card advertising the United States Marine Corps Corporal Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED August 8, 2013 1:49 a.m.

The average person looks at a cardboard box and sees a cardboard box.

Chuck Palmer looks at a cardboard box and sees a care package that can be sent to troops that are serving around the globe.

It’s just the way he’s wired after shipping literally thousands of boxes to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Kosovo. The packages contain everything from coffee and beef jerky to hand sanitizer and baby wipes.

He knows how important those packages can be. When his son Charles Palmer was killed in Iraq in 2007, he got to hear from his squad mates how much he enjoyed mail call and bartering some of the things he received from home for the coffee he craved so much.

So when Manteca comedian Chris Teicheira called him up and told him that he wanted to do something to help benefit the non-profit organization he set up in his son’s name, he jumped at the chance.

Donations have slowed significantly since war coverage stopped appearing every night on the news. And while troops have come home from Iraq, the surge in Afghanistan and the presence in other places around the world drives a constant demand for a little slice of home when deployed thousands of miles from American soil.

It would seem, on the surface, that the Teicheira’s drive for humor and the serious nature of the troops would be at odds. But comedians have long toured as part of the USO’s mission to help make those serving more comfortable in uncomfortable places, and Manteca does tend to be one of those places that has always worn its patriotism on its sleeve.

“Manteca has been such a fantastic place, and they’ve really responded to both this and our family,” Palmer said. “Every year when we have the Memorial Day event, I hear from Marines that come from North Carolina and Maine. And they talk about how this community has the best support that they’ve ever seen.

“I think that says a lot, and we want to share that kind of support with the troops that we have actively serving today.”

Last year the memorial organization received nearly 100 packages from students at Joshua Cowell School after a young student came up with a plan to support the program. She worked with her principal to implement it and make it a successful venture that pulled the entire school community together.

And after corresponding with literally thousands of troops stationed at posts near and far, Palmer has learned that something as small as a pocket-sized bottle of Purell can make all the difference in the world – especially when you’re in the field for weeks and possibly even months at a time.

“When my daughter’s husband deployed to Iraq, he spent three months out there – all that they had were baby wipes,” Palmer said. “Sometimes something that small can make a big difference in the life of somebody in the desert.”

The comedy event will take place on Friday, Aug. 9, at The Pub and Longue – located at 1305 N. Main Street – from 8 to 11 p.m. Comedians Sammy Obeid, Marcela Arguella and Anthony De Guzman will be performing. Manteca funnyman Chris Teicheira will host the event. Admission is $10 at the door, and donations – both items and cash – will be accepted.

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