By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - 16,000 care packages, dozens of volunteers, and hundreds of letters saying "thanks." That's a mission started right here in West Texas that's now rapidly spreading over the Lone Star State and across the U.S. The organization "Honor Our Troops" sends care packages to troops oversees sponsored by students, churches and families.
Honor Our Troops is an organization committed to making sure troops know they're appreciated. The group started in the Basin but it's no longer only West Texans who are jumping on board.
"Great, great men and women over there that need to know we love them," Jim Leascher, Founder of Honor Our Troops, said.
"It's really fulfilling knowing a soldier comes in and says 'I want to thank you for sending us a care package,'" Volunteer, Johnny Young, said.
The H.O.T. organization started in churches and schools across the Midland/Odessa area but this summer they're expanding to cities all across the state of Texas and now they're reaching towards New Mexico. This weekend, volunteers are heading to College Station where these 1,000 boxes will be assembled and sponsored to ship oversees.
"We have others that will call us all the time," Leascher said. "We have schools that will come in with their classes and we're going to try to do that more often as we get into it. We do around 500 care packages a month right now and we hope in the next six months we'll be doing 1,000."
But for Jim Leasher, this is a labor of love. He started "Honor Our Troops" six years ago while his son was serving oversees in Afghanistan.
"There's just nothing more fulfilling to know that we're touching these guys and gals and it's a personal thing with me because my son was in the 505 1st Airborne and that's why I do what I do," Leascher said.