- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Big things often come in small packages — just ask anyone who has ever served overseas.
For civilian contractors like Lexington Park resident Kimberly Scriber and the thousands of men and women — both civilian and military — who are deployed to a foreign country, it is care packages that help keep them going day in and day out.
“Unfortunately I deployed alone,” Scriber said via email. She is serving as an intelligence officer and counter improvised explosive device collection manager for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. Currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, Scriber’s mission entails collaboration with Afghan National Security Forces and other organizations in a bid to neutralize the insurgency. Scriber said this includes supporting improved governance and development. She is currently serving on a six-month rotational deployment.
But while she and others work to support the needs of a nation, who is supporting them?
“Care packages are monumental in terms of overall morale,” said the Rev. Kenneth Moore, who along with his wife, Tonica Moore, and members of their congregation, has sent about 20 care packages to Scriber since she deployed.
In addition to his role as Scriber’s minister at Zion United Methodist Church in Lexington Park, Moore has served as a chaplain in the Air Force Reserve for the last 17 years, and said he knows all too well what it means to receive packages from home.
“I was stationed in Qatar and Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, and my wife sent me care packages while I was deployed,” he said. “It felt good to receive things from home, and my wife even sent Christmas lights while I was there to make it feel more like the holidays. It’s little things like that.”
The packages the Moores send today contain items ranging from spiritual literature and personal hygiene items to snacks, prepaid calling cards and coffee.
“All you want when you’re there is to know that someone is thinking of you,” Kenneth Moore said. “That’s all that matters, and we just want them to know that their sacrifice is not unnoticed.”
“You can always tell when it’s getting close to mail call,” Scriber said. “Everyone gets a little more talkative, speaking about what they expect in the mail. Everyone asks, ‘Kim, are we getting a box today?’ And when the packages come everyone is so appreciative ... they all promise that if they’re ever in Southern Maryland that they’re going to worship with us.”
“You’d be surprised: a box of cookies can make somebody feel a little at peace, or a cup of coffee or simple note saying ‘Thank you,’ really goes a long way,” Moore said.
Scriber said the packages come about once every two weeks to a month, adding she knows they didn’t start with her deployment. Her minister “has often said that he knows far too well what an impact care packages have on the troops, and I know they’ve been sending packages long before I deployed,” she said. “But they are humble people and speak very little about their gift giving.”
Though Scriber is the only member of Zion United Methodist Church currently deployed to Afghanistan, Tonica Moore noted that the items she and her husband send aren’t just for her. “The items are really for anyone who might need them,” she said. “It’s our way of saying thank you — thank you for serving, protecting and making us safe. And with these people away from their families like they are, we just want them to know that somebody cares and give them a little piece of home so they know someone is thinking about them.”
To Scriber, the packages are more than just mementos from home.
“It means unending support,” Scriber said. “It means that we have family and friends who are truly in our corner, praying and providing for us.”
Scriber added that her current deployment has given her greater appreciation of the freedom and liberties found in the United States.
“The men and women of the armed forces, civilians and contractors have all made sacrifices; there’s a job to be done and we’re here to do it,” she said. “So when you have people back home supporting you, that’s a mighty good feeling. I can’t thank my Zion family enough for their encouragement and support.”
Scriber said she was particularly appreciative to her pastor for his spiritual guidance and for offering himself up not only to her, but to others deployed with her for spiritual counseling. “You have been such an inspiration to us,” she said, adding she hopes others will follow his example.
“Support our troops,” Scriber said. “My motto has always been, ‘You’re not living unless you’re giving’ ... I’m just saying!”