Freedom Is Not Free

Thanks to the efforts of club President Joyce Charboneau, the Boonville Historical Club’s theme this season is  “FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.”

proud to serve

In keeping with this theme, during our first meeting of the season on  October 5, members decided  to participate in the “Adopt A Platoon” project of the 10th Mountain Division Association.  The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army is based at Fort Drum, about 50 miles north of Boonville. (For more information, see

Troops were expected to deploy in January. The club would be matched up with a platoon prior to their departure from Fort Drum.  A list of suggested items to send to the soldiers was discussed, and the group was excited about the project.

At that  same meeting , we heard Kae Young, from the Fort Drum Public Affairs Office, talk about her job and her experiences visiting soldiers in Iraq and at Walter Reed Medical Center. Kae added to the  list of suggestions of what  the  solders in Iraq and Afghanistan would really appreciate. (

Kae Young and Joyce at Hist Club Meeting 5 Oct 2009

Kae Young, left, with club president, Joyce Charboneau

A few weeks later, however, we heard from Mike Plummer, the president of the 10th Mountain Division Association, and our contact for the Adopt-A-Platoon program. He told us that the project had been put on hold because the Army had cancelled  deployment of 3,500 Fort Drum troops to Iraq. Mike said he felt the troops would be sent to Afghanistan instead, possibly in the spring. 

At our  next meeting, on November 2, we heard another interesting program by  Father Sean P. O’Brian, parish priest at  St. Joseph’s Catholic Church,  Boonville, and St. Patrick’s in Forestport. A commander in the U. S. Navy Reserves,  Father Sean served as a military chaplain in Afghanistan in 2007.

Bob Jones, Joyce and Father Sean

Bob Jones, Boonville Chamber of Commerce 2nd VP, Club President Joyce Charboneau, Father Sean P. O'Brien, US Navy Reserves Commander, following a presentation by Father Sean at the November 2 meeting.

Prior to Father Sean’s presentation, the ladies decided that rather than wait for Fort Drum troops to deploy, we’d  “adopt” Christopher Coombs, a nephew of one of our members. He is a 1st Sgt. with the Marines  currently in Afghanistan. He has already served three tours in Iraq. Christopher’s mother wrote this about her son:

They can use all the help they can get. His unit is responsible for getting everything that anyone needs anywhere in Afghanistan by land convoy or by air. It is an extremely dangerous job…Any kind of food is much appreciated; there is a lot of contaminated food and water over there. They are in South Afghanistan, and were the first to go there. There was nothing there except desert.  They are building everything and living out of tents.

She also sent a list of items that her son’s soldiers would appreciate, and we decided to begin collecting these things to send to Chris to share with his company (see the next post for a complete list of items).

If you’d like to help us show appreciation to our military personnel, please get in touch with one of our members (if you live in Boonville, you probably know who they are!) or call club president Joyce Charboneau, at (315) 942-4835, or email her at or contact Judy Routson at   Thanks so much for your support!

We hope to hear from you soon.


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