hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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January 10, 2013

Making Afghanistan feel like home

City women send Marines care packages of sweets, squirt guns

It sounds like a child’s wish list.

A squirt gun, licorice, Oreo cookies and other goodies.

But it’s actually a list of items desired by some of America’s toughest military personnel: Marines who are fighting terrorism thousands of miles from home.

For Marine Capt. Harold Eugene Lloyd III of Merrimac, snacks and toys that you can buy in almost any town in America were hard to come by while he was stationed in Afghanistan for seven months last year.

He sent a letter to his parents asking for snacks and personal care items. His father, a school bus driver in Haverhill, happened to mention it to school bus monitors, a mother-and-daughter team that he works with at Coppola Bus company in Bradford. Before long, the two women were shopping not only for Lloyd, but for other men in his unit as well.

“When I began my job as a bus monitor last January, Harold (bus driver Harold Lloyd) made me like family by talking about his children, including his son, who is a Marine, and how he was with other Marines who didn’t have anyone sending them stuff,” said Kimberly Giangregorio, 28, of Haverhill. “I asked if there were other Marines who might like the same thing, and my mother and I decided to start buying things to send overseas.”

Harold Lloyd gave Giangregorio and her mother, Kathy Shackley, a list of items his son and other Marines in his unit could not get at their base in Afghanistan.

“My mother and I went shopping for things like Oreo cookies, which was a big thing over there because they couldn’t get them,” Giangregorio said. “We shopped twice a month from spring until Christmas, buying things like 20 packages of Oreo cookies and huge packages of Twizzlers.

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