What started as a gift to a family member grew into a program that has provided nearly 2,000 boxes of gifts to U.S. military men and women in war zones.
Veterans Butch Klein and Lud Kaftan started the Payson Supply Line in January 2005.
The first beneficiary of what became Payson Supply Line was Jason Watson, the brother of Butch and Kathy Klein’s daughter-in-law.
After sending Jason a small box of items just as “family,” Butch felt God was leading him to do more — not just for Jason, but for all of the U.S. troops stationed in the war zones. Butch is a former Marine and discussed his thoughts with fellow Christian and former Marine Captain Lud Kaftan.
In just a short time, Butch and Lud brought their wives, Kathy and Marian, into the mix. Lud’s home office became the first area to store supplies and pack the boxes for shipping. Newspaper articles generated publicity as events raised money.
During one early interview, Butch said he remembers how very precious those comfort and care items from home were to him in the Marines. The memory helps keep the fire burning for his commitment to this special mission.
One of the most successful efforts to bring money to the nonprofit organization is hosted by the Payson American Legion Riders. The group has a “Fun Run” motorcycle ride each spring. Last year it raised $10,000 for the Payson Supply Line. The group staged this year’s Fun Run on Saturday, but haven’t yet tallied up the money brought in.
The Kleins and Kaftans found the residents of Payson and the Rim Country area very supportive and it didn’t take long for donations to roll in, along with many names and addresses of family and friends stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Payson Supply Line storage/ packing facility has grown from Lud’s home office in 2005 to bigger and bigger, very organized rented storage units over the years at Swiss Village Storage in Payson.
The owners and managers of Swiss Village Storage are huge supporters, and their wonderful facilities are perfect for the needs of Payson Supply Line.
So many people want to support our troops, but aren’t sure where to begin. The group continues to send packages to troops in Afghanistan, but discontinued shipments to Iraq after the U.S. Post Office there shut down in November as the bulk of the troops left. If you have a friend or loved one stationed in Afghanistan and you would like them to receive a box from Payson Supply Line, please forward their name and mailing information to paysonsupplyline@yahoo .com.
Want to donate? Mail your check to Payson Supply Line, 514 E. Timber Drive, Payson, AZ 85541. All donations are tax deductible.
Volunteers put a form letter in every box to let our troops know that all items are supplied by donation in support of them and their mission. Butch jots a personal note on the back of each form letter so the recipient knows who provided us with their name and mailing information and who requested the box for them.
The boxes include items needed and requested by military personnel that the military normally doesn’t issue. Special requests for needed supplies come through the families as well as directly from the military personnel themselves via e-mail. A typical box weighs approximately 35 pounds and holds enough items to supply 10 or more people. Items include health care items to snacks, cereal, powdered drink mixes, hand and foot warmers, small games and much more. The cost to ship a typical box is approximately $65.
These boxes are bringing much joy to the troops and Payson Supply Line plans to continue its efforts until the last U.S. military personnel leave the region.
“We are thankful to all those that support us in this mission and are honored to put your donations to work so that our troops can feel the love and support from their fellow Americans,” the group says on their Web site.
The Payson Supply Line is a Christian based 501(c)(3) organization with four officers: Butch Klein, president; Lud Kaftan, vice president; Marian Kaftan, treasurer; and Kathy Klein, secretary. All are volunteers and no salaries are ever taken.
“We give God all the glory for the success of this mission. Payson Supply Line is God-led; we are the hands, feet and voice that He uses; those that contribute through donations of money and items are what keep us going,” they say on the Web site.