When their birthdays or Christmas are approaching, most young children becoming obsessed with receiving gifts — but the birthday wish of one Mount Airy boy has brightened the holidays for U.S. soldiers serving in Kuwait.
The story begins when Hudson Rogers was looking forward to his 6th birthday on Nov. 15.
“It got started because he wanted his birthday theme to be an Army theme,” Britni Rogers, Hudson’s mom, said of how the effort to help soldiers evolved. She indicated that he is interested in military subjects and seems to have some understanding of the role troops play in America’s defense despite his young age.
Hudson, a kindergartner at White Plains Elementary School, did not ask for any toy machine guns or tanks as part of his birthday desires — just that it have an Army theme.
“And that just sort of sparked the idea of having a care package,” Mrs. Rogers said, one for soldiers serving overseas.
Hudson didn’t exactly concoct that idea on his own, his mother admits. Mrs. Rogers actually suggested it to her son — as part of efforts to help him find a way to carry out his birthday theme — while fearing he would reject the concept of gathering gifts for troops.
“But he was excited about it,” she said.
A birthday party was planned and invitations were sent to family members and friends asking them, in lieu of buying presents for Hudson, to supply items for the soldiers instead.
A huge stockpile resulted — including snacks, candy, books, magazines, drink mix, batteries, hygiene products and many others.
“I think I shipped out four large boxes,” said Britni Rogers, who is employed by a family-owned real estate firm in Mount Airy.
The cache of supplies also included a contribution from Renfro Corp., a hosiery company in Mount Airy where her sister-in-law works. “They donated a huge box of socks.”
“Truly a blessing”
Efforts to get the supplies to soldiers led Mrs. Rogers to an Internet site and a program in which a platoon can be adopted for a one-time care package.
The recipients of the stockpile generated locally are members of Hurricane Battery.
They already have responded to the supplies sent from Mount Airy and told how much this has brightened the holiday season for service personnel stationed in a faraway land.
“We received all the boxes you and Hudson sent,” 1st Lt. Kimberly Ford wrote Mrs. Rogers.
“My soldiers and I would like to send you a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Ford continued.
“We could not have asked for more — you and Hudson are truly a blessing to us this holiday season, especially since we are away from our families.”
Meanwhile, everyone here who participated feels good about the effort to aid the soldiers and add special meaning to Hudson Rogers’ birthday celebration — which could start a trend when it comes to holiday or other gift-giving occasions.
“I hope it will inspire others,” his mom agreed.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.