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Pa. Guard teams with locally head quartered company, USO supporting deployed military

Lt. Col Scott Meier, left, Deputy Group Commander for the 111th Air Operations Group here and Tech. Sgt. Danielle Heidrick, 111th AOG assistance commander support staff, weigh, inventory and stack nearly 8,000 pounds of Wawa, Inc., care packages destined for deployed servicemen and women in Media, Pennsylvania on Nov. 10, 2015. This marks the fifth year teams from the Pennsylvania Air and Army National Guard have participated in the Wawa “Taste of Home” build benefiting the Liberty USO. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

Lt. Col Scott Meier, left, Deputy Group Commander for the 111th Air Operations Group here and Tech. Sgt. Danielle Heidrick, 111th AOG assistance commander support staff, weigh, inventory and stack nearly 8,000 pounds of Wawa, Inc., care packages destined for deployed servicemen and women in Media, Pennsylvania on Nov. 10, 2015. This marks the fifth year teams from the Pennsylvania Air and Army National Guard have participated in the Wawa “Taste of Home” build benefiting the Liberty USO. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Members of the 111th  Attack Wing and area Pa. Army National Guardsmen aligned with the Liberty USO and Wawa, Inc. on Nov. 10 in Media, Pennsylvania to package an estimated 5,000 care packages destined for deployed military members overseas.

Working in assembly-line fashion, an estimated 75 Wawa employees, volunteers and Guard members built, boxed, heaved, transported and stored 7,800 pounds of local convenience store favorites such as coffees, sweets and hand-written support letters from Wawa employees  to overseas military member.

"We're thrilled to continue this tradition for a decade," said Wawa CEO, Chris Gheysens. "We do these things in support of the military because it's part of  [Wawa's] DNA. Our teaming with the Liberty USO has been fantastic."

Pa, Lt. Governor and Assistant Judge Advocate General with the Pa. Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade, Michael Stack, kicked off the building process with Gheysens tossing the first stuffed care package bag of treats into the box readying for places unknown.

During the event, titled as a "Taste of Home," Wawa, Inc., presented a check to the USO for $770,000 raised through customer and employees contributions from across their eastern U.S region 645 stores.

"This is the right thing to do at the right time," said Leigh Maxson, an IT project manager with Wawa whose father was a 21 -year Navy veteran.

A large Pa. Air Guard box truck, packed floor to ceiling, front to rear, made its way back toward the air guard base for storage and final weighing four hours later.

According to Liberty USO's Program and Outreach Monitor, Kristen Lowe, the care packages trucked in and stored at the Horsham Air Guard Station will ship to points across the globe in advance of Thanksgiving Day.