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Help A Hometown Hero

by Mike Russo | Aug 3, 2009 8:27 am

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Posted to: Oxford, Police

Town employees are collecting donations for care packages to send to Oxford Police Officer Gary Soules, who is serving in third tour of duty in the war on terror.

Librarians Dawn Higginson, Kathy Kycia and Marissa Ciullo are spearheading a donation drive for Soules.

The drive is runs through Thursday, August 14.

Ciullo, the Children’s Librarian, said she has been in contact with Soules through e-mail.

Ciullo said Soules and his fellow soldiers have exhausted their current collection of DVD’s, sport magazines and video games.

“He really likes action films and comedies, but he would appreciate anything we can send,” she said. “This will really mean a lot to him.”

Prior to becoming a police officer three years ago, Soules, 24, attended Oxford schools. He joined the military in 2002. Soules served his first tour of duty in Iraq in 2003.

When he returned after almost nine months, Soules was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, and served for another year in Iraq.

He was discharged from the Army in 2006, but, shortly before Christmas 2008, Soules received notice to serve a third tour of duty.

He left for Afghanistan earlier this spring.

Soules is currently responsible for 60 soldiers who rebuild schools, participate in public works projects and create resources for the Afghan people.

Higginson, the Library Director, said the library is always interested in doing what it can in the community to support the troops.

“We felt it would be appropriate to do something for officer Gary and his fellow soldiers,” she said.

Kelly Weymer, Administrative Assistant to First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers, said she keeps in touch with Soules through e-mail. She recently initiated a donation drive among town employees, which included personal care items, clothing and money.

“He touched our hearts,” she said. “Not a day goes by when we don’t think of him and pray for his safe return.”

Resident Trooper Sgt. Dan Semosky, Soules’s supervisor, said he is proud to see the town’s involvement.

“This is a close-knit community and the town is showing a lot of support,” he said.

Currently, in the foyer of town hall, there is a collage of 18 Oxford residents who are currently on military active duty.

Drayton-Rogers said that is a daily reminder to her of the sacrifices they are making for this country.

“They are working so hard to protect us as we carry on with our daily lives,” she said. “We do no forget them for one minute.”

A donation box for Gary Soules is currently in the library.

The library is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Additional donations can be made through Kelly Weymer at Town Hall. Call her at (203) 888- 2543.

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