In April of 2008, Wheaton adopted some new honorary citizens when Mayor Michael Gresk proclaimed Wheaton’s permanent adoption of “BIG RED” – the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, also known as the Vanguards.
Wheaton has had a special relationship with these soldiers since 2006, when Wheaton’s Community Relations Commission initially adopted the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment for a two-year period to give the soldiers a “home.” The commission has served as a liaison between the Battalion and the City so residents can show their support for the soldiers, according to a press release from the city.
This holiday season, the commission will renew the Wheaton’s commitment and support for the soldiers by sending all 835 soldiers a care package, "to let them know we care for them," according to the release.
"During the holiday season, as our Wheaton community celebrates with their family, we remember the sacrifice of our “BIG RED” soldiers who are serving our country so that we can safely celebrate."
Care packages will contain Uno cards (which are great for soldiers and their families once they return home), iTunes gift cards ($10 denominations), Tic Tacs, packages of star mints, powdered individual drink packets, packs of gum, and beef jerky (individually wrapped). Items will be bundled in a special custom T-shirt with the seal of the City of Wheaton and “Wheaton Loves the Vanguards” on the front, according to the release.
The Community Relations Ccommission is looking for:
Corporate T-shirt sponsors who can have their company name/logo listed on the back of the T-shirts. Community members or groups who would like to donate items to the care packages can drop off items at City Hall, the Wheaton Library, or contact Desiray Young at 630-653-7579 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations must be accepted by Dec. 2, 2012.
Groups who have already committed participation include:
- Johnson Elementary School, Warrenville
- Rotary Club of Wheaton
- RJN Group