January 1, 2016

When two best friends get together, it’s usually to hang out, catch a movie, or just play video games. John Askin ’18 and Gerald Sharpe ’18 had a different idea in mind. The duo decided to take the traditional service hours requirement at the Academy and start something new – a special initiative to support our troops overseas.
In support of the American Recreational Military Services (ARMS), the duo created their own service project, dubbed “LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.”
Beginning in October, they set to work, planning for the collection and passing out nearly 1000 flyers to neighbors, churches, middle schools, friends, and family. Then in November, the month-long collection was underway.
The pair collected toiletries and additional necessities for troops stationed overseas like lip balm, sunscreen, pain relieving cream, combs, bug spray, powder, sanitizer, blankets, hats, books, and cards. They also collected imperishable food items such as, mini snacks, chips, beef jerky, hot chocolate mix, Pop Tarts, granola bars, candy, powder drink mix, popcorn, and more.
Weeks and over 60 combined service hours later, Askin and Sharpe were able to amass over 10,000 items. In the first week of December, the two met on three different nights to pack everything up for shipment.
“We exceeded expectations and we will definitely be doing this together in the years ahead,” said Sharpe. Both he and Askin received letters from Ronnie Micciulla, the Executive Director of ARMS, thanking them for their initiative and the many donations.
The bar is certainly set for next year’s collection. It’s just one more great example of our Academy men going out and impacting our community, the world over!
To learn more about ARMS, visit their website here.