Wednesday, November 19, 2008

from the Centre Daily Times

Thanks for the tip from the Alley Popper...

Couple prepare gifts for soldiers
- 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


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

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