Robin Ballard, deputy superintendent of the Lowndes County School District, got the idea for a lip balm drive after talking to her son, Kyle, a soldier who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff
November 15, 2013 9:50:10 AM
Thanks to an effort by a local school district, soldiers serving in Afghanistan will soon have over 1,000 tubes of lip balm.
Lowndes County School District Deputy Superintendent Dr. Robin Ballard decided to organize a drive to provide tubes of lip balm when her military son, Kyle Ballard, complained of dry and cracked lips among his fellow soldiers. Kyle Ballard is currently serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
"He called and said his lips were killing him," Ballard said. "Cracked open, bleeding and his nostrils were really dry and I said, 'Well, go and get you some Carmex.'"
Ballard said she didn't realize it would be so difficult for soldiers to find lip balm during their deployment but her son quickly informed her the lip balm wasn't readily available.
"He said, 'Mom, they don't sell that kind of stuff, they give us the cheap stuff.' I said, 'Well, do they have any Afran nasal spray or anything?' and he said, 'No, they don't have anything like that over here, mom."
With that phone call, Ballard knew she had to help her son and the soldiers in his unit. Fifty-five teachers within the Lowndes County School District have adopted soldiers in their classrooms. Ballard sent out a mass email to the 55 teachers in the district who have adopted soldiers for their classrooms. She told the teachers, "If y'all collect them, I'll send them."
Within days, Ballard had over 1,000 tubes. Caledonia's campus made it a school-wide event and collected almost 500 tubes. New Hope did the same thing and also collected 500 tubes. Two large boxes of toiletries were collected as well. Ballard said she was shocked at the response.
"This is almost 1,300. I just didn't expect to get this much and for it to be so well received," she said. "I just couldn't believe it."
Ballard said she plans to mail the lip balm today so it can reach the soldiers by Christmas.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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