After 10 years and more than 28,000 care packages, a suburban Chicago couple are winding down their efforts to send packages to troops overseas.
Pat and Mac McCoy began Yellow Ribbon Support Group in 2003 when their son, a Green Beret, was in Iraq. They began by sending snacks and toiletries to his 12-person Special Forces team. But over time, Yellow Ribbon began to take on a life of its own as the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan increased.
"We're very proud of what we've done," Pat McCoy said, according to The Daily Herald. "But it's time."
Over the past decade, the project's had dozens of volunteers. Space in Palatine's village hall was dedicated to storing all the items and local police even sent juvenile offenders to help assemble the packages as part of their community service work. Items were collected from festivals and church events.
But the McCoys said it's getting harder to collect donations because of the economy and because support is waning for U.S. troops in armed conflicts. Meanwhile, the two -- who are both in their 70s -- have been investing at least three to four days a week to the work and say they need a break.
The two said they've collected several three-ring binders filled with thank you notes from servicemen.
"It was like Christmas morning when we got the mail call and (Yellow Ribbon) had sent me five or six packages to distribute to the rest of the platoon," said Justin Sher, a Hoffman Estates native who did two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine and a third in Japan. His parents volunteered with the group to send snacks and other items to his unit.
"Everyone is extremely grateful to have people back home who were willing to put in time and money from their pocket to help," he said.
The McCoys said the project will wrap up later this fall.