Drop off points this year are:
- Clearfield Hospital, Main Lobby
- Stuckey Ford and Subaru in Hollidaysburg
- Double K Convenience Store in Flinton
- Helmbold & Stewart Insurance Company in Clearfield
By Lori Falce- For the CDT
IRVONA — As the holidays approach, Sharon and Roger Kritzer, of Irvona, worry about shipping their gifts, making sure they arrive in time for Christmas morning.
That’s quite a concern when you are shipping hundreds of boxes to soldiers serving in Iraq.
This is the fifth year that Pfc. Bradley G. Kritzer’s parents will honor the memory of their only son by making sure his comrades-in-arms feel a little bit of the holiday spirit while they are so far from home.
“We do Project Santa to show support to our troops and let them know they are not forgotten,” said Sharon Kritzer. “He used to tell us that a lot of his fellow soldiers did not get mail or packages from home.”
And when Brad Kritzer got a box filled with beef jerky or cookies or whatever flavor love came in that day, he shared it with his bunkmates. When a roadside explosion on May 5, 2004, claimed the war’s first Clearfield County casualty, his parents knew they couldn’t stop sending Brad’s boxes just because he wasn’t there to open them.
As long as his unit was there, the boxes went regularly. A special push was made at Christmas, a maneuver called Project Santa that was choreographed with all the precision of a military exercise.
By now, their son’s friends have come home. But there are still troops in Iraq, and the Christmas packages will continue to come.
On Saturday, the Project Santa Wrap Up party will take place at the Alley Popper restaurant in Houtzdale at 10 p.m., with Serious Jones performing. The cover charge is $5. The event will be both a celebration of five years of giving, and a last effort to collect a few more presents and a little more money for postage.
“We know times are tough, but our passion is the military and standing behind our troops. We appreciate what we can get and do what we can with what we get,” Roger Kritzer said.
What soldiers need more than anything are prepaid calling cards so they can call home and talk to their families and friends. Shelf-stable snack foods, toiletries, and recreational gifts such as hand-held games, CDs, etc., are also welcome additions.
“Another item appreciated would be cards, letters and notes from all the supporters back home,” Sharon Kritzer said.
For every donation worth $5 or more made at Alley Popper through Saturday, the donor will be entered in a prize drawing to be awarded at the party.
Brad Kritzer was just 19 when he died. He was deployed in March 2004, and died less than a year after graduating from Moshannon Valley High School. He never spent a Christmas in the desert.
“I would say this is our Christmas present to Brad,” Sharon Kritzer said. “I don’t want to give up until they all come home.”
For more information about the event, contact Lisa Komidar at the Alley Popper at 378- 9711. For more information about Project Santa, e-mail the Kritzers firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO HELP
For more information about the event, contact Lisa Komidar at the Alley Popper at 378-9711. For more information about Project Santa, e-mail the Kritzers at email@example.com.
Project Santa Wrap Up Party Announced
Project Santa will hold a wrap up party on Saturday, November 22nd at The Alley Popper in Houtzdale. This event will feature the Clearfield band, Serious Jones playing great classic rock and more beginning at 10pm. There will be a $5 cover charge for the event. At this event, all of those who helped to make Project Santa a success will be honored.
Anyone who donates to this great cause by dropping off items of $5 or more in value at The Popper, will be entered to win a great prize that evening. Donations may be made any day during business hours leading up to the Wrap Up Party.
Brad Kritzer lost his life for his country on May 5, 2004, and a short time later his parents, Roger and Sharon, were determined to keep the memory of their only son alive and never forget those who are still fighting for freedom in Iraq.
The project began about 5 years ago when they received a letter from Brad prior to his death saying that some soldiers never receive mail or support from home. From that point on they have made sure plenty of items were sent to the soldiers serving in Iraq at Christmas and they even try to send packages every day.
When they began Project Santa in 2004, there was a load of supplies shipped overseas and the soldiers had them in time for Christmas. The Kritzers continue that effort, but once again, they need the community's help.
"We know times are tough," Mr. Kritzer said. "But our passion is the military and standing behind our troops. We appreciate what we can get and do what we can with what we get."
Recently, Brad's unit was sent back to Iraq, which hits close to home for the Irvona RD couple. They know many of those Brad served with and pray for them and all soldiers each day.
While they send literally hundreds if not thousands of boxes overseas, they also sponsor a local soldier. This year they have chosen Caleb Cherish.
"As time goes on, people forget about our troops fighting for us," Mrs. Kritzer said. "Whether it's us or another group, help a soldier and send them something to let them know they are remembered."
For more information regarding this event, please contact Lisa at the Alley Popper, at 814-378-9711. For more information regarding Project Santa, call the Kritzers at 672-3734 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map to The Alley Popper
An annual event held every September, the weekend after Labor Day, rain or shine.
We sent 400 boxes out this year to the soldiers in Iraq and 10 very large boxes to the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
We also want to thank all the schools, churches, organizations and people that helped us this year. Because of their help and donations we had a huge success this year. The students from the area schools were amazing with the donations of food and other items that they brought in for Project Santa.
A big HOOAH goes out to them.