A Taste of Home

<I>DAMIAN MULINIX photo</I><BR>Ellen Wallace, Janet Provo and Connie Soditus pack up homemade cookies to be sent to the crew of the USCGC Aquidneck, stationed in the Persian Gulf. The cutter is captained by Cmdr. Richard Burke, who was the commanding officer at USCG station Cape Disappointment prior to last spring.

American Legion Auxilliary sends cookies to Coasties in Persian GulfILWACO - Thanks to some local American Legion ladies, some Coast Guardsmen patrolling the Persian Gulf will have a slightly sweeter holiday than they would have otherwise. The ladies auxiliary of the American Legion Hall, Post 48, recently baked, packaged up and mailed around 50 dozen homemade cookies to the Coasties manning the USCGC Aquidneck.

The connection to that particular cutter is its captain, Cmdr. Richard Burke, who until last April was the commanding officer at USCG Station Cape Disappointment. Burke was a positive influence within the community and was a fixture at Legion events throughout his time stationed here. The ladies said that he asked if they might "remember the boys" of the Aquidneck, and that they did.

On Veterans Day, while Coasties worked away at finishing clam chowder to be served at the holiday luncheon at the Legion Hall in Ilwaco, several of the ladies were working away at packing up 600-some cookies in two-dozen styrofoam boxes. The boxes would be sealed in cardboard boxes and sent on to a fleet post office somewhere in the states, and then sent via military transport to the base in the Persian Gulf, then on to the ship's crew.

"And we put a note in that said, 'Be nice, please share,'" said Ellen Wallace, wife of Post Commander Dick Wallace.

From pecan ice box to ginger bars, snickerdoodles to brownies and old-fashioned chocolate chip, the crew of the Aquidneck are in for a treat.

"Everybody brought what their specialty is," Wallace said.

Jeanette Provo was kind of like the "chief baker" this time around, making some 24 dozen, with others including Pat Cook filling out the rest of the bill.

Wallace said that prior to Burke's leaving, the group discussed doing something for the crew of his ship and came up with this idea. The 15 or so ladies that make up the group decided that they would send some kind of homemade goodies every two months, or more often, depending on the reaction they get from the crew.

"Kids" is what Wallace calls them, and she's not too far off. Many of those aboard the Aquidneck are very young, and away from their homes and country for the first time.

"They're really looking for some kind of 'home touch,'" she said.

And does she think that 600 cookies will last a crew of hungry young Coasties very long?

"Probably not, from what I understand," she said, adding that the total weight of the boxes mailed was nearly 50 pounds. "I anticipate they'll go through them rather quickly."

She said they hope to receive word from Burke regarding how long the delivery took and what condition it arrived in, which may change their cooking schedule and packing techniques in the future. And as far as how long into the future they will continue this project, Wallace said, "I believe it's our intention to do it as long as it's needed."

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