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For this mom, supporting Iraq troops is a must

LYNN - Susan Eldridge has already sent her son and his Marine comrades 30 pounds of fudge, but her real gift to them this holiday season is love and her prayers.

http://www.thedailyitemoflynn.com/news/view.bg?articleid=10697
By Thor Jourgensen
Monday, November 28, 2005

LYNN - Susan Eldridge has already sent her son and his Marine comrades 30 pounds of fudge, but her real gift to them this holiday season is love and her prayers.
Eldridge and her husband, Lon, spoke briefly with their son, Sgt. James Eldridge, Wednesday night before he ate a Thanksgiving dinner and headed out on a patrol in Iraq.
Eldridge is a Marine veteran who started his third tour of duty in Iraq in September. He was wounded Nov. 13, 2004 during the Marine assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
The six-foot, six-inch Eldridge spent a week in the hospital before being reunited with his wife in California. He spent last Christmas with his parents and brothers Michael and Robert and returned to Lynn for another visit in July.
The exploits of Eldridge and his fellow Marines were chronicled in "No True Glory," Marine veteran Bing West's new book about the Fallujah assault.
"It's strange having a son in a history book," Susan Eldridge said, adding this holiday season is the worst she has ever spent apart from James because of the number of soldiers the Marines and Army have lost fighting in Iraq in recent weeks.
She shares her fears about her son with fellow Marine parents who log onto an Internet support group called Marine Parents Online.
"I go on two or three times a day. It gives us a lot of support."
The Marine parents and their counterparts in other branches of the military prepare packages of non-perishable foods including canned soups, tuna and Christmas sausage, plastic storage bags and other items the soldiers cannot easily obtain.
She sends the items to her son who distributes them to soldiers in his platoon, including Marines who rarely receive a care package or letter from home.
"A lot of boys don't get anything," she said.
City Veterans Director Michael Sweeney is also making sure overseas troops receive items the veterans' office in City Hall gathers throughout the year with the help of the Lynn Veterans Council, Friends of the Public Library and other groups.
The office sent out packages including boxes of Ramen noodles favored by the troops last Friday, and plans to send out another batch of items in February.
Sweeney urged residents with loved ones serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to add their names to the veterans' office list. Eldridge said information for sending letters and packages to Marines can be obtained by logging onto www.marineparentsinc.com.