Gift boxes honor fallen Marine

Military wives pull together to help

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Collins was among two dozen Americans killed in Afghanistan during the government shutdown in October.

Collins' mother Shannon was initially denied death benefits because of the shutdown and vented her anger on national television.

An emergency measure was passed to restore the benefits.

As a way to honor his service, wives of other Marines are working furiously to gather gift boxes together to ship to Collins' unit still in Afghanistan.

There is not an inch to spare in the living room, dining room and hallway of Darcy Lessard's San Marco's home.

"All these boxes have to be out of here by December 10 so they will arrive in Afghanistan on time," she said.

The 100 gift boxes are filled with food, clothing and more for Collins' unit overseas.

The idea to combine the gift-giving in his honor motivated contributions from around the country.

"It skyrocketed; we have everything from toothbrushes and razors to hand warmers, socks and snacks," Lessard said.

Shannon Collins flew out from Milwaukee, and she told 10News, "I just had to have my hands on this."

Collins said of the government's decision to restore the benefits: "They had to. I wasn't going to stop talking until they did, it still took four days."

The 197 gift boxes for Collins' unit will include several key ingredients -- a bottle of hot sauce and other seasonings so they can flavor their meals and a hand-sewn stocking.

Learn more about the gift box effort by clicking here.

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