Rim country residents are encouraged to continue their support through the Payson Supply Line.
Organized by Butch Klein and Lud Kaftan, the Payson Supply Line's goal is to send supplies to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Klein and Kaftan are collecting items that lift morale and improve safety; that are not available by government issue; and that are unaffordable or hard to find in isolated areas.
"We're trying to get them what they need," Klein said.
Klein and Kaftan are retired Marines, and know firsthand that the needs of men and women serving overseas are not always met. They're asking family and friends of Rim country soldiers to let them know what items are scarce on the front lines.
"We will buy enough for the soldier and their buddies and shoot it out to them," Klein said. "We won't be warehousing anything."
U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Watson, stationed in Baghdad, and his platoon will receive the first shipment from the Payson Supply Line.
Watson is a friend of Klein's family and said he and fellow soldiers need sundry items like batteries, socks, long underwear, shooter's gloves, baby wipes, heated socks, Chapstick and international calling cards.
"The phone cards are really expensive for them," Klein said."
"We want to keep these kids comfortable and alert," Kaftan said. "It's not something that's here today and gone tomorrow. This works. I was in Vietnam and it worked for us. It worked for the first Iraq war."
The growth of the supply line depends on community involvement. Anyone with relatives or friends serving in Iraq or Afghanistan can contact Klein or Kaftan with the names of their soldier, mailing information and their specific needs.
Members of Mountain Bible Evangelical Free Church, Bank One, Oasis Christian Books & Gifts, and Chris Smith Investments are donating time and supplies to help Klein and Kaftan.
In addition to dry goods, the Payson Supply Line needs cash donations to supplement supplies and pay for shipping.
"We will try to get good deals where we can," Klein said. "We also want to get the kids at school involved and have them write letters."
For more information about donations, or to let the Payson Supply Line know about the needs of soldiers, call Klein at (928) 474-6968, or Kaftan at (928) 474-6981.
Donation drop boxes are available at Oasis Christian Books & Gifts at 512 S. Beeline Highway, Suite 1, and Chris Smith Investments, 112 W. Main St.