GALENA — The Genoa Township Police Department is requesting care packages for two of its members who are stationed overseas for the holidays.
Police Chief Steve Gammill said in an email and via social media, “For the better part of the next year they will be at a base in the Middle East far away from their families.” The two are deployed with their Ohio Army National Guard unit.
Genoa PD is asking the public to bring non-perishable items to the station, 6921 Big Walnut Road, Galena, that will be sent to the entire unit. Gammill is calling it “Operation Genoa Township Cares.”
“Snacks, cookies, powdered drinks, mementos from home are just a few of things we will be gathering,” Gammill said. “Trust me, they will eat any food we send and appreciate anything that lets them know they are remembered! I will be asking the school resource officers to see if students would like to show support in some way, for example a card or poster.”
Gammill said he spent two years stationed at an Army base in Germany during peace time.
“While most of us will be celebrating the upcoming holidays with our families, these young men and women will be facing harsh and dangerous conditions. They are definitely in harm’s way,” Gammill said. “It’s easy to feel like you’re forgotten — but we are not going to let that happen.”
The idea is to improve their time away and to show their service is appreciated.
“The littlest thing can make a huge difference to them,” Gammill said.
Items will be collected by Dec. 8. Gammill said the department will package the items to ship out on Dec. 9. Hopefully, it will reach the unit before Christmas.
“We hope you can help us show our thoughts are with their unit as they serve to defend our freedom,” Gammill concluded. “I thank you in advance for your help.”
In other news from the police department, Genoa’s therapy dog, Rocky, is now fully certified. The training process took a year with National K-9 hosted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Columbus Police therapy dog teams.
“Rocky did a great job,” said a post last week on Facebook, “and he, along with all the other therapy dogs, will go do wonderful things in their communities!”
Rocky isn’t Genoa’s only therapy dog — they just acquired Maverick. He may be a puppy now, but he’ll be a freshman at Westerville Central High School for the 2023-2024 school year.
Maverick will be “working with School Resource Officer Joe Graham to assist any students or staff who may be having a tough day or just in need of a furry friend to hug,” Gammill posted on Facebook. Like Rocky, he’ll be in training for a year to be certified.
“Our therapy dog program is funded through previous generous donations and any future donations we may receive,” Gammill wrote.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.