~Semper Fi Sister Beach Blast arrives Oct. 17~

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM.

Mary Beth Gunnerson made an observation and took action. The reaction will make for some special comfort from home for servicemen and women in harm’s way in Afghanistan.

Gunnerson, from Destin, attended the packing party during last year’s annual Semper Fi Sisters Beach Blast in Port St. Joe. During the packing party, held last year in the Centennial Building, the Sisters – wives, grandmothers, sisters, aunts of deployed military personnel – assembled care packages for troops in war zones.

From a first year when 12 women packed 36 boxes to 24 packing 300 boxes the next year to 52 packing more than 700 boxes last year, the effort has grown exponentially.

This year the goal is 1,000 “Boxes of Love.”

“I came home so tired,” Gunnerson said with a chuckle. “But I was so inspired. I had such a good time.

“The only thing we all had in common is a fierce, profound and protective love of our servicemen and women. Those are the ties that bind.”

Gunnerson, who had been introduced to Semper Fi Sisters during a banquet for mothers of deployed soldiers, noticed that while two long lines were devoted to packing boxes with a masculine touch for the servicemen, the “powder puff” line packing for servicewomen was a single line and not nearly as long as the other two.

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