By ORICE WALTERS
For The Daily News
KINGSFORD - Another beautiful day at Golden K. It's always nice to have guests and on the morning of July 21 we were pleasantly surprised to have former GK member, Jim Pollard, a native of Norway, back to visit us from Belleville, Mich.
It was also a pleasure to welcome Bobbie Samme of Spread Eagle, who in spite of the loss of her son LCpl Eric A. Palmisano in 2006, has turned her grief into a project of care for our troops who served in Iraq and now for those still in Afghanistan. Bobbie presented an enthusiastic and faith living story about the Palmisano Care Package Project started in memory of her son.
The traditional Golden K Guest song was sung to welcome Bobbie and to welcome Jim back.
Program chairperson Lois Outcelt introduced Bobbie Samme. Lois offered the prayer and Thought for the Day.
Mary Jane Nelson, chairperson for the month opened the meeting with the pledge to the flag and everyone singing "God Bless America."
Alyce Derwinski, who always does a great job on the keyboard, kept us singing for several oldies and Happy Birthday to Louise Swope and Karen Burgess.
Happy Anniversary was sung for Bill and Ellen Roberts on July 23 and Vance and Dorleen Uhazie on July 25.
Walter Jensen was the lucky winner of the "Pot of Gold" when his lucky number was picked by guest Bobbie.
Mary Jane read a thank you note from the family of Jack Wahlstrom. Our GK friend the late Jack Wahlstrom, gave his all for Golden K as a happy volunteer.
Harlan Walters updated the GK on the Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 Golden K Peanut Fund-raiser.
Harlan and Kirk Olson are co-chairmen of the fund-raiser.
Captains will be Ben Detterman, Bob Rigoni, Al Calcari, Ron and Joan Jouppi, Don Pedo at stores in Iron Mountain and Kingsford. Gil Engel is in Niagara and Bill Roberts in Norway.
Lois Outcelt showed and read several thank you cards received from the Forest Park special needs children of Crystal Falls thanking GK for the picnic at Iron Mountain City Park in May.
Don Pedo did his usual good job in sharing the "Happy Dollars."
Paul Ward, along with all GK members, was happy to see Jim Pollard. Paul also let us know that Ben Detterman won the 50/50 at Out To Lunch last week. Lucky again.
Ben was happy to have his two sisters from Iowa visit. They were impressed with all the trees as they are use to seeing corn. Dick Walsh is happy to see so many happy people.
Bruce Stuart went to his friend, Bev Johnson's family reunion, and was impressed by meeting more Swedes there than there are in Stockholm. So he says.
Al Calcari was happy to tell us that the Forstrom family would like to thank GK for the nice write up in the paper.
Pedo read an explanation about baseball for those of us who don't know too much about the game. Sounded like, when your out you're in and then when you're in you're out and again when you're out you're in, until someone wins.
After the baseball explanation, this writer was more confused than ever so was really happy to have Bobbie Samme present her program.
Now for the rest of the story.
Bobbie's son LCpl. Eric A. Palmisano of the USMC died on April 2, 2006 while on a convoy in Iraq delivering supplies to troops. The vehicle he was driving flipped over and nine days later his body was found. During those nine days the family was in agony waiting to hear of him.
His parents sent seven boxes of food and personal items to Eric the two months he was in Iraq on an 8-month stay. Two of the boxes were sent back marked with a big X. Wondering what to do with the stuff in the two boxes, Herb Samme said "Send the stuff back for the other troops" except for the personal items.
That was the beginning of the Care Package Project in memory of Eric, for our troops. At that time it cost $6.50 to mail per package. Now as the care packages have continued, the cost to send is $15.40 per box.
Assisting with the project in the beginning was the Samme's Church family from Our Saviour's Lutheran in Iron Mountain. As the Project is ongoing, Our Saviour's still remains a drop off location for stuff to put in the boxes and for packaging as needed.
Over 30,000 care packages have been mailed to this date. That's a lot of packing and postage. Bobbie and Herb Samme had great praise for the help of their church and the community with labor, donations and cost of postage.
Herb Samme, Eric's stepfather, decided that since he was a truck driver, he wanted to go to Iraq to finish Eric's mission. He managed to do that and saw what his son had done. Herb was there for nine months and troops were pulling out. The KBR, which was a part of the group Herb was driving supplies for, realized they were no longer needed. Back to the USA he came and continues to help here with the Care Package Project.
Very soon a book written by Herb and Bobbie will be available through Christian Publishers titled, "A Father's Journey."
Their mission now is to thank everyone for helping to keep the project going, but now to the troops in Afghanistan.
Last Saturday 128 care packages were packed filled with travel size items, toiletries and small food items that will not spoil, magazines, books and local newspapers. No chocolate. Over the years they have learned what not to send. Boxes are not the same.
Also requested are hand warmers. Recently two large boxes with only hand warmers were mailed to troops in Afghanistan.
Bobbie is not ashamed to ask for donations or money for mailing to our troops. She works through the chaplaincy program in seeing that the troops get their care package.
She was surprised to hear that military chaplains are not being replaced as they retire and was going to look into that.
A thick book of photos and thank yous from the troops and the chaplain along with a sample box of items was displayed.
Anyone wanting to know more about the LCpl.Eric Palmisano Care Package Project or donate can go to the website www.palmisanocarepackageproject.org. Their Facebook page, or call them at (906) 396-4900. Checks are very welcome.
Family members of troops can send their loved ones address to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will send them a care package.
Many thanks and applause to Bobbie for memories shared with us and for the wonderful service she and Herb have initiated for our troops. Their story is truly an inspiration.
As Bobbie said, "A total stranger helps another stranger." It is a moral boost for the troops to receive a package from their homeland.
The next GK meeting is Monday, July 28 at our regular meeting place, the Presbyterian Church in Kingsford from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Early bird singing with Margaret Trudell and Alyce is about 9:30 a.m. Program chairman is Jim Verrette.
The Golden Throats sing at Victoria Pines on Wednesday, July 30 at 2 p.m.
The Golden K Club invites community minded people to join us if you want to have a joy filled Monday morning. It's a happy group of seniors who enjoy the fellowship of one another.