Blue River couple keeps on giving to local troops |

Blue River couple keeps on giving to local troops

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news

BLUE RIVER – What began as a Christmas present exchanged between a Blue River couple a year ago has grown into practically a part-time job for the two.Walt and Susan Mueller have been sending care packages to Summit County soldiers’ platoons for the past year, and have recently expanded their operation to include the Marines and the Navy Seals.The Muellers are now mailing boxes to locals Spc. Shelby Andersen, Lance Cpl. Thomas Fielding and Navy Seal Courtney Bollinger. Andersen and Fielding are in Iraq, while Bollinger is stationed in Afghanistan.The packages include a variety of items that are unattainable overseas such as nuts, dried fruits and other snacks, wicking T-shirts, personal hygiene items, headlamps, batteries, canned tuna fish and chicken, local newspapers, powdered juice drinks, peanut butter and duct tape.The boxes are filled with enough supplies to provide something for everyone in the locals’ respective platoons.”You must be able to visualize all the smiles, laughter and overall group morale being uplifted as our troops open these packages in the middle of a war zone,” said Walt, who is a Vietnam veteran.The Muellers’ mission began last December when they decided that instead of spending money on gifts for each other during the holidays, they would purchase simple products for locals stationed abroad.Last year, they shipped more than 100 packages, spending anywhere from $700 to $1,100 every six weeks.With the help of the Summit County Rotary Foundation, they were able to raise $5,000 toward their effort.Many inside and outside the county have chipped in – Wal-Mart donated $1,500, Petzl sent 19 headlamps, and a grade school class from Leadville supplied 20 hand-written notes for the packages.Last week, the Muellers sent 30 packages as a holiday gift to all three platoons. They hope to continue the mailings throughout the year, however they will need continual donations in order to make that possible, Mueller said. Letters are also appreciated.To Make a DonationDonation checks can be made out to Summit County Rotary Foundation for Support Our Troops and sent to Walt Mueller at P.O. Box 4629, Breckenridge, CO 80424. Donations will receive a written receipt from the Summit County Rotary Foundation for tax deduction purposes. If you have any questions, call Mueller at (970) 453-0262.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at