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Community support gives soldiers boost

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

Patrick Espy, Dustin Dreifuerst and Joshua George are only three of several Kenai Peninsula residents serving in the military overseas.

Other area soldiers include Shane Webster, the son of Jeff Webster of Soldotna. The 22-year-old Soldotna High School graduate is stationed with the Marines in Kuwait, his father said.

Benjamin Ruzicka, the son of Doug and Debbie Ruzicka of Anchor Point, is an Army calvary scout stationed in Louisiana and scheduled to be deployed somewhere in Southwest Asia next month.

Debbie Ruzicka said there also are at least two other young men from Anchor Point serving overseas, but she did not know their names.

"This is the problem," she said. "Nobody has a list of who's serving from the area. Families should be contacted to know we're behind them."

The soldiers themselves also benefit from support from friends, families and neighbors back home.

The Dreifuerst and Webster families have publicized their sons' addresses and said the young men appreciated the letters and packages they have received from people from the peninsula.

"I talked to (Shane) earlier this week," Mindy Webster, Shane's older sister, said Wednesday. "He said he really appreciates all the mail he's received from people. It really keeps him motivated."

Area residents can continue writing to Shane and other servicemen and women through the city of Soldotna's Red, White and Blue Program. Soldier names and biographies will soon be available on the city's Web site at www.ci.soldotna.ak.us. Residents can write letters, put a specific soldier's name on the envelope and drop the letter off at City Hall. City staff will add postage and addresses.

The city also is looking for the names and addresses of more military personnel serving overseas. Families may submit names, addresses and other information by calling City Hall at 262-9107.

In addition, the Peninsula Clarion is compiling a list of area servicemen and women and their families. The list will be made available to area residents interested in showing support for the soldiers or their families. To submit names, addresses or other information, send an e-mail to "soldier info" at clarion@alaska.net, a fax to 283-3299 or a letter to "Soldier Info," in care of Jenni Dillon, Peninsula Clarion, P.O. Box 3009, Kenai, AK 99611.



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