Family keeps memory of son alive through soldier care packages - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Family keeps memory of son alive through soldier care packages

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

A Hoover soldier gave his life defending the country. Two years after his death, the family of Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers, Junior is continuing to give other soldiers a piece of home.

The Rivers family is asking people to Support Our Soldiers. It's the name of their organization, which sends care packages to soldiers overseas to keep the memory of their son alive.

Wednesday, Regions Bank donated items to Support Our Soldiers.

But anyone can help make Christmas and other days special for those serving our country.

"Oh, look at all this stuff," said Charon Rivers, the mother of LCPL Thomas Rivers, who started Support Our Soldiers. "This much stuff? This thing is full!."

Items donated by Regions Bank employees were stacked high on tables. The games, clothing, food and toiletries were ready to be packed and shipped to soldiers overseas through Support Our Soldiers.

"I was overwhelmed. We got so much in such a short amount of time. One of the things we are most proud of is we're going to underwrite shipping for an entire year," said Ann Forney of Regions Bank.

In addition to the items and free shipping, the employee also gave their time grabbing a box and stuffing it with their favorites.

"It's like Christmas in July, May, whenever they get a box. They're thrilled to have it, to have anything they can. It gives them a piece of home," said Rivers.

The care packages are also a piece of comfort for the soldiers and for Rivers.

LCPL Rivers returned home May 2010 after paying the ultimate sacrifice. He was just 22 years old when an IED took his life in Afghanistan.

"I just have to give. I have to do something. I can't just sit at home and not have some way to remember him by or to make his life carry on," said Rivers.

His life does carry on. In the boxes, there's a booklet talking about his life. It includes an excerpt from an essay he wrote in high school about wanting to become a Marine.

"It means the world to me. It means the world to these guys over there," said Rivers.

To donate or for more information about Support Our Soldiers, go to http://www.supportoursoldiersalabama.org

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