Final drive a success

Above: This weekend’s Troop Care Package Drive marked the end of this 9 year tradition with it’s 9,000th box. Appropriately, the box was addressed to a serviceman whose future in-laws have been active participants in the drive. (Contributed photo)

This weekend marked the end of a 9 year community tradition. It’s one tradition we can be happy to no longer have a need to continue.

Twice a year, Southborough residents organize a care package drive for service members in Afghanistan. With the troops set to withdraw by the end of the year, this was the last.

Organizer, Lisa Braccio asked me to share the following:

What an amazing finish to our final Care Package Drive for Troops, we shipped 364 boxes weighing just over 9,000 pounds!!! Congrats to all the wonderfully amazing donors and volunteers. The consistency that you have shown for the past 9+ years of unwavering, unconditional and dedicated support of our Service Members far from home is nothing short of pure magic. On behalf of all of those that have been blessed with some special treasure from our boxes and felt the love, support and feelings of knowing they were not forgotten, Matt and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing in our journey. Final boxes shipped since 2005 were 9117 weighing roughly over 208,800 pounds. Kudos to you all, you have done your Country, Community and our Military proud!!!

Braccio had dedicated the last drive to the community. But the spotlight was turned on her, as others chose to honor her service.

The National Guard, presented Braccio with a medal for her public service. Southborough Wicked Local captured the moment:

“You have touched the lives of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” said Major Gen. Leon S. Rice, head of the Massachusetts Air National Guard as he presented a tearful Braccio with the Commanders Award for Public Service from the Department of the Army.

If you’ve talked to Braccio over the years, you’ll recognize that her response is typical to her humbleness on her efforts:

“There are few things in my life – marrying my husband, having my son – that touched me more than this,” Braccio told a group of about 50 volunteers. “The only way I can accept this is if I accept it on behalf of all of us.”

For the rest of the story with photos, including her honor from the Governor’s office, click here.

Last week, SWL interviewed Braccio. To read her touching remembrances from the past 9 years, click here.

I missed the awards ceremony on Saturday. But I was in time to capture Braccio’s thanks to and from the community and some other moments.

Click thumbnails to enlarge.

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