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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Tiny Town makes huge difference for deployed soldiers

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chris Raveling with two Airmen at FOB Kunduz, delivering some of the care packages from his hometown of Peterson. The airmen are attached to the Army and forecasts the weather for the helicopter-flying unit known as the Pirates. Raveling is happy to share some of the generosity of small-town northwest Iowa in Afghanistan.
First Sergeant Chris Raveling of rural Peterson, an Airman with 25 years of service to the United States Air Force, also a member of Peterson Community Response Unit (CRU) is currently serving the United States at the 455 Expeditionary Operations Group (EOG) at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

He is deployed there from the 185th Air Refueling Wing out of Sioux City. Currently Raveling is a member of the Clay County Deputy Sheriff's Dept. and previously served in the Storm Lake Police Dept. from August of 2000 to October of 2006, as a patrolman and investigator. Upon his deployment, he wanted to do something positive with the time he had to spend in the remote and dangerous area of the world. Since 9-11, Raveling has been deployed multiple times, the most recent being to Afghanistan. Since April 2012, the Airman has called Bagram Air Field home and recently, during a conversation with his Colonel, Col. Kevin Campbell, he was asked to poll his fellow Airmen stationed in some of the most remote areas of the foreign land, what basic supplies they were lacking. That conversation led to an outpouring of love and generosity.

Raveling asked his wife Sandi to organize a supply drive for the Airmen located in various FOBs throughout Afghanistan. An FOB, or Forward Operating Base, is a base that is farther down range from the front lines and those stationed in the FOBs have no access to mail, packages or to military stores or BX's. Sandi contacted Peterson CRU through Robin Patrick, asking if CRU would like to be involved in the supply drive. Peterson CRU immediately jumped into the project. Along with CRU, many other generous donors and volunteers joined the project, including Kate Stouffer, various members of Peterson CRU, State Bank - Peterson, Farmers Bank - Spencer, Farmers Savings Bank - Fostoria, VanHofwegen Dental, Clay County Sheriff's Office, Drs. Fox, Boyd, Sailer and Shriver, Clay Mutual Insurance Association and many others.

By the first week in August, over $1,000 had been raised and with those funds, 16 boxes of non-perishable food items, toiletries, towels and flip-flops were shipped to MSgt. Raveling. On Aug. 7 the boxes were mailed to Bagram Airfield and were received by Raveling on Aug. 12. After his conversation with his Col. Campbell, Raveling took on the task of organizing which USAF airplanes would deliver packages to specific FOBs and in doing so, took the opportunity to hand deliver many of the boxes of supplies. Those that were not able to be hand-delivered were dropped to the remote FOBs.

Thanks to the efforts of MSgt. Raveling and another 1st Sgt., along with various other generous donors, many Airmen have been blessed with items they otherwise would not have access to as they sacrifice their lives defending our freedom overseas.

Currently, a second shipment is being planned thanks to other funds received, including a generous donation from the Storm Lake Police Association.

Anyone interested in donating to this worthy cause should contact Peterson CRU members Robin Patrick (712-295-7211) or Tracy Schultz (712-229-6041) or drop donations off at the State Bank in Peterson.

MSgt. Raveling is scheduled to return to the States in October, however in the time he has left abroad, thanks to the efforts of many charitable people, he will be able to say he truly "did something good" while serving his country.

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