Earlier this month, the longest war in American history entered its 11th year in Afghanistan. Among those still overseas are area loved ones.
Some volunteers will spend the annual Make A Difference Day working in honor of those deployed.
On Oct. 27, Joe Marshall of Youngstown will work in conjunction with Operation Santa 2012, collecting items and cash to ship Christmas packages overseas to soldiers.
"It started out as a small project at work," Marshall said. "My son is in the U.S. Air Force, and my dad retired from the military. Anyway, I got in touch with my son and asked him if there was anything charity-wise that I could do for the Air Force.
"He said that there wasn't anything specifically for the Air Force, but this operation for the Marines is a great program. He considers them his brothers and sisters, too."
A member of First United Methodist Church in Warren, Marshall will use the church as his main collection point on Make A Difference Day. The church is located at 309 N. Park Ave.
Visit www.tribtoday.com and click on the Make A Difference Day link to register a project, volunteer or print out registration forms.
"My wife and I are going to have a collection point at the church," he said. "We will be collecting from 10 a.m. to noon. Hopefully, we get a lot of people chipping in and donating things.
''Anything you can do to help out would be greatly appreciated. We are sending everything from hand sanitizers to dry fruits and granola bars,'' he said.
Others will perform more symbolic gestures to recognize those in uniform. Catie Karl-Moran spearheads a project to clean up and landscape Newton Falls' Veterans Park for her Make A Difference Day.
"We feel like this is the focal point of the community," Karl-Moran said. "It is so beautiful, but the city doesn't have the funds to keep it maintained the way it should be.
"We need that park to look beautiful to honor the veterans and their service."
Karl-Moran expects 130 or more volunteers to participate in the effort, which will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.
"Part of the time will be spent in the falls area of Veterans Park, and we will also work to fix up Newton Falls' Community Park," she said. "The great thing is that this is a combined effort between the township and the village. We want everyone to be involved, because this is a really great cause and it is something that needs to be done."
Karl-Moran is actively seeking volunteers for the project. She can be reached at 330-646-3734.
Other Make A Difference Day projects involving servicemen and women include the Disabled American Veterans donating lap robes to veterans in local nursing homes.
Also, Susan Helsel has put together an effort to make and send Veterans Day cards to VA hospitals in celebration of the day.
The Lordstown woman writes patriotic-themed poems and puts them in homemade cards that are taken to the VA in Brecksville.
Helsel - who has been making the cards since 2002 - said she was inspired by the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks and the fact that her father is a veteran. Helping her are kids from United Methodist preschool in Canfield and Lordstown students.
Make A Difference Day is a national day of volunteerism held the fourth Saturday in October and sponsored locally by the Tribune Chronicle and nationally by USA Weekend Magazine.
Visit www.tribtoday.com and click on the Make A Difference Day link to register a project, see what projects are available and need volunteers, volunteer yourself, and print out forms, including the cornhole tournament registration form.