Both Bureaus of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office are collecting toiletries, clothing, snacks and entertainment items to aid Soldiers of the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who lost their belongings in the January 8 missile attack on their installation in Iraq.
The collection drive – under way until February 28 – is being spearheaded locally by Randolph resident Laura O’Connor. Her son, Private First Class Stephen Zenes, is in the 82nd Airborne Division but was not stationed at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq when it was one of two military installations that came under missile attack by Iran on January 8.
“They lost everything, and being a Mom, they’re my kids too,” Ms. O’Connor said of her son’s fellow Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Seeking help with the collection drive, Ms. O’Connor met recently with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer, Morris County Correctional Facility Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson, Warden Chris Klein, and other command staff.
“We’re so honored to be a small part of this effort,” Sheriff Gannon said.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office itself employs 35 military veterans, many of whom still serve in the Army National Guard or Army Reserves, and three of whom are currently deployed.
The Sheriff’s Office Bureaus of Law Enforcement and Corrections have established drop-off locations in the main lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown, and at the Morris County Correctional Facility, 43 John Street, Morris Township.
Items being collected for men and women include: toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental floss, cotton swabs, shaving products, shampoo, tissues, bar soap, brushes and combs, deodorant, suntan lotion, towels and wash cloths, T-shirts, underwear, long socks, reading materials, playing cards, puzzles, protein bars, powdered drink and food snacks.
Ms. O’Connor, who welcomes sponsors for shipping the items, has also reached out to churches and civic groups for the collection drive.
Questions about donations may be sent to Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ashley Craig, of the Bureau of Corrections, at [email protected]; 973-285-6614, or to Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Robert Horvot at [email protected], or 973-285-6114.