LIVINGSTON – A group of Marines can thank A-nut Rose. And some Doyle High students too.

Stories about teacher Danielle Butcher’s grandmother has spurred a group of students to put together care packages for U.S. servicemen in an unlikely location.

Norway.

But first, A-nut Rose.

Butcher, who teaches English I and English III at Doyle High, walks to a shelf and takes down a sign that reads, “ ‘A-nut’ Rose and Family.”

Her grandmother, called Aunt Rose by everyone, sent care packages to Butcher’s cousin, a civilian contractor embedded with a Marine Corps unit in Iraq.

Her cousin said they loved what Aunt Rose sent them, the teacher said.

“It was a morale booster,” Butcher said.

The Marines took a photo with a sign to thank Aunt Rose; aunt was spelled “A-nut.”

Her family made a copy of the sign for her, Butcher said.

“It was one of the few things that survived Katrina,” said Butcher, who lives in Mandeville.

Her students asked her about the sign, Butcher said, and after hearing the “A-nut Rose” story, they asked to do the same.

Their decision followed her grandmother’s philosophy, Butcher said.

“Do good for people, for as many people as you can whenever you can,” the teacher recites.

“So many are just kids so far from home,” Butcher said. “They are mostly kids doing grownup work. At 20 or 21, I was just a baby.”

“I feel (my students) will get more out of this. You feel invested when you do it yourself,” she said. “It creates an opportunity to generate a discussion,” about the military, public affairs and world affairs.

Butcher found a web site, Operation Any Soldier, which lists requests from military units. Many of the units receive little mail or packages from home.

Several of the Doyle High students taking part in the project have family members or relatives in the Marine Corps, so they picked that branch of the military. 

Butcher’s choice was a Marine Corps amphibious unit, based in North Carolina, now stationed in Norway.

The unit’s operations chief, Staff Sgt. Terry Hall, told Butcher their unit is comprised of 62 men and 4 women.

They are six to a room in housing that has not been used in 15 years, with limited cleaning supplies, she said.

The Marines also have few American electrical converter devices to adapt to European electrical current. Multiple-outlet converters are highly prized.

Butcher bought snacks that students have sold at school to raise money to go to Sam’s and buy snacks in bulk. The teacher already has bought some converters so the Marines can have one in each room.

So what do Marines like? Tuna fish, crackers, Raman noodles, Nature Valley Protein bats – “the sticky kind” – and the all encompassing “junk food,” according to Butcher.

The students will be adding NutriGrain bars, beef jerky, trail mix, Skittles candy, Pringles chips, and assorted cookies.

The sergeant emailed the English teacher on March 23 to report the Marines’ spirits were higher because some mail and packages had arrived, but they were still short of small cleaning items, such as Clorox wipes. Tide stain-remover pens and laundry packets.

“This month, we’ve been raising donations to put toward the care packages,” Butcher said March 30.

She said she planned on visiting Sam’s Club to buy items, and the post office, for overseas boxes.

“Next week, we will put them together,” she added.

“This is our first time doing this, so we’re feeling it out to find the most effective process,” to preparing care packages, Butcher said.

“Next year, we hope to continue to work with the same unit,” Butcher said, “If not we will choose another unit.”

“A lot of the time we take for granted what we have and don’t think about what they do and go through,” Butcher said.

“I feel (my students) will get more out of this. You feel invested when you do it yourself,” she said. “It creates an opportunity to generate a discussion,” about the military, public affairs and world affairs.

 “I think they should hold on to be a kid a little bit longer. My son is 6 and I can’t imagine him at 18 and being deployed and a man.

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Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at kevinf@livingstonparishnews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.

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