Give a Christmas gift for our troops

Area residents will have a chance to give U.S. military personnel stationed overseas a bit of holiday cheer again this year.Beginning Monday, Adopt a Military Hero: Howard County's Christmas for Our Troops will collect donations and gifts to send to military personnel who will spend the holiday season far away from home.For the past few years, the effort has been done under the auspices of the Midland-based Christmas for Our Troops, but local organizer Debbie Burrow said she wanted to do something a little different this year.“We just wanted to do our thing,” Burrow said. “(The Midland organization) have their own very strict guidelines, and that's all fine and good, but we wanted to do things a little differently.”The main difference between the two efforts is that Burrow's group will accept a larger variety of gifts to send overseas, with the caveat that all items must be able to fit inside a standard-sized U.S. Postal Service flat rate box (12 inches by 12 inches by 55 inches).“Our main focus is for people to take the Adopt a Miltary Hero box and fill it with items on our suggestion list or whatever you want to give and have it back to by Nov. 21,” Burrow said.The group aims to have about $50 worth of gifts in each box. People can either buy the items or simply donate money to AMH, she added.“If they want to donate the money, we'll buy the gifts and fill the boxes for you,” Burrow said.Boxes can be picked up at AMH headquarters, 1606 E. Third and either returned there or at various drop-off points around Big Spring. In addition, an account has been established at Wells Fargo Bank for people wanting to make cash donations.The group's goal is fill up to 500 boxes by the time they are shipped on Dec. 2; recipients don't have to be Howard County natives, Burrow said.For more information, call 270-8554.