After joining the U.S. Army last July, Ryan Hartman probably wasn't surprised to find himself in Baghdad just six months later.
But his mother, Yvonne Hartman, employee of Humility of Mary Home Health Services, 979 Tibbitts Wick Road, Girard, was determined her son and members of his platoon would be well taken care of even though they were far from home.
''If we can bring a smile to their faces, just from opening a little pack of Gummi Bears,'' Yvonne Hartman said, ''it is well worth it.''
After mentioning the idea to her co-workers at HM Home Health Care, Hartman said everyone was excited to join in. The staff acted quickly to create Operation: You Serve...We Care, campaign to collect goods for the service men and women of the 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment stationed in Baghdad.
''Oftentimes people want to help but don't always know how,'' Yvonne Hartman said. ''I thought this would be a good opportunity for them to show their support to our soldiers.''
After collecting numerous boxes of non-perishable donations, as well as receiving cash donations to help defray the costs of shipping, the items will soon be on their way to the troops.
In addition to the items collected, HM Home Health Services employees, families and friends have included letters and cards of thanks to help lift the spirits of the soldiers.
''They need that support,'' Yvonne Hartman said.
Ryan Hartman is currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He received his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., prior to receiving his permanent duty station and his deployment.
This act of support toward American soldiers is one of many occurring within Humility of Mary Health Partners, Hartman said.
Humility of Mary Health Partners is an integrated health system that provides a full spectrum of health care services, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency, urgent care, home care, residential and long-term care, as well as hospice care. Additional Humility of Mary members include St. Elizabeth Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center, The Assumption Village, Humility House, Hospice of the Valley and Laurel Lake.