When Charles Palmer Sr. and his wife Teri started the Cpl. Charles O Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program more than 10 years ago, they were just sending packages to deployed troops around the globe.
But now that they’ve been able to establish the foundation they set up to honor their son – a fallen marine that was killed by a roadside bomb in Anbar province in 2007 – as one of the premier military support non-profits in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, the couple has branched out with the help of the community to serve veterans even when they return from their deployments.
They’re even helping veterans when they return home.
With the help and the backing of the local community and donors from across the country, the non-profit just last year started offering assistance to veterans and their families that need more help than they’ve been receiving – an impressive undertaking being that they also sent more packages last year than they had in any other year previous.
“Last year the donations allowed us to start helping our veterans here,” Chuck Palmer said. “We were able to pay some utility bills, help with car repairs, and were able to help a couple of families around Christmas time.
“We have been able to widen our scope and not just send care packages – able to help families right here in our own neighborhood.”
When the couple first came up with the idea to honor their son, a Manteca High School graduate, in 2008, it only cost $12.50 to send a care package to a deployed troop anywhere in the world.
Now the same package costs them $20 to send – or 100 packages for $2,000, according to Chuck Palmer – which means that the money they need to raise to keep the program alive has gone up right along with the cost of postage.
Fortunately for the family, the acclaim that they have generated from the military community has created a far-reaching web of support that extends beyond the local community. The program is anchored by local service groups that have made it their mission to support the undertaking and ensure that the goal of spreading cheer to deployed men and women around the globe is something that is achieved.
“The American Legion has been great – they jumped in with us from the beginning, and have always given us forward dates so that we can plan packing events,” Teri Palmer said. “I can’t say enough about the American Legion and the support that they have given us. The VFW has invited us as well to come down and put up an info booth, and the VFW in Ripon has been excellent.
“We have been blessed to have so much support from this community in putting this all together.”
With a troop packing event scheduled for later this month at the American Legion hall – set to begin on Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. – the couple are currently putting out the call to restock some of the more essential items that they’ll be including with the most current round of care packages.
Socks, baby wipes, non-perishable food items like beef jerky and snacks, games, books and personal toiletry items are at the top of the list of what is necessary when sending a care package – a combination that works as well for troops stationed in the Middle East as it does those in Africa or Asia. Items for packaging as well as money to pay for the shipping of each individual care package will be accepted at the upcoming packing event.
For additional information about how to support the organization, visit www.cplpalmertroopsupport.com, or call Chuck Palmer at 209.627.5147, or Teri Palmer at 209.627.5146. The couple can also be reached at 209.239.3088.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.