After 20 years in the U.S. Army, veteran Don Stark settled into a comfortable routine as a flooring specialist in the Lowe’s of Dubuque, Iowa in 2006. But the military is never too far from his mind.
“We have soldiers deployed everywhere, including my daughter. She’s currently deployed in Kuwait and we miss her,” Stark said.
Stark looks back on his days in the service and remembers what it felt like to receive a package from someone back home in the states during a deployment.
“My wife and children would always send me little packages and letters and things and you get that when you’re deployed and you’re away from your family for a long time and it just makes you feel all that much more loved and cared for,” Stack said.
When he asked his store manager, Mike Bryson, if their store could do something similar, Bryson didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’. By October 2017, the store employees had gathered enough supplies, snacks and other necessities needed by deployed troops to fill seven large packing boxes. They shipped them to Stark’s daughter’s troop in Kuwait. But their effort didn’t stop there. They wanted to send more.
By May 2018, the 170 employees at the Lowe’s of Dubuque had raised more than $900 worth of goodies to box up and send overseas. When the day came to pack the boxes, the store also had a handful of local ROTC members show up to lend a helping hand. Some of the supplies included things like chips and other snacks, mouth rinse, socks, baby wipes, playing cards, hair dye and handwritten notes. The second shipment of boxes was double the size of the first. Stark says he knows these packages mean the world to the troops who receive them.
“I take a package and go to the post office and I know that in just a few days that’s going to be half a world away,” Stark said. “We’re just going to make the day for 130 different soldiers and they’re just going to love that stuff and it’s just awesome.”
Even as helpful as these deliveries will be to the troops, Stark knows their effort is about so much more than boxes. It’s about acknowledging service and thanking those who do it.
“We all owe the people who have fought for us and died for us and are still fighting for us” he said. “And these soldiers deserve our attention.”
Lowe’s continues to honor military customers through its Military Recognition Program. Visit Lowes.com/military to enroll. The company has also been officially recognized as a Military Friendly Brand.