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Operation Sunscreen aims to assist military

File Photo
Jea Gackowski, of McDonough, is working to send Sun Care Kits to military personnel who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

File Photo Jea Gackowski, of McDonough, is working to send Sun Care Kits to military personnel who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Jea Gackowski of McDonough wanted to display her support for the U.S. military, many of whom are enduring blazing temperatures in the Middle East. A sales director for the Mary Kay skin-care company, she came up with a way to combine her patriotism, with her profession, by sending sunscreen and other items, to servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I wanted to do something to thank our hometown heroes," said Gackowski. "I'm sending it to servicemen and women that are from this area, and they can share it with people that are in their unit."

Gackowski is on a mission to send 1,500 Sun Care Kits to members of the military who are serving overseas, through an endeavor titled Operation Sunscreen.

"I'd like to get them [Sun Care Kits] in the month of July, but I'm just going to keep going until I get them," she said. If we get enough businesses and individuals to get behind it, it shouldn't take that long.

She said her appreciation for the dedication of military personnel in the Middle East grew recently upon learning they were subjected to temperatures exceeding 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Her goal is to assist in protecting soldiers by sending them Sun Care Kits with Mary Kay Sunscreen Lotions, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, Mary Kay Lip Protector Sunscreen with an SPF of 15, and Mary Kay After-Sun Replenishing Gel.

"I'm looking for people to help in three ways -- to write a heartfelt thank-you letter, to purchase a kit for $38 each, or to help with the freight financially," Gackowski said.

Gackowski has been working, along with a team of six volunteers, to assemble supporters for her cause locally. One group she recently reached out to is the Rotary Club of Henry County.

Adam Stanfield, Rotary's membership director, said he plans to speak with his fellow group members about getting behind Gackowski's project.

"It's one small way that we can rally around, and give them some comfort in a very hostile environment," Stanfield said. "Rotary has distributed sunscreen in the past for events like the Geranium Festival [in McDonough], so it fits well with what they're doing."

Gackowski added that she is in the process of visiting local businesses and homes, to generate support for her newfound cause.

"I'd love to come and speak to different groups," she said. "If they would just e-mail me, I can come and explain what we're doing.

For more information, call (404) 569-1259, or e-mail jea.gackowski@encompassgroup.net. Gackowski can also be reached by mail, at 3155 Ga. Highway 155 North, Stockbridge, Ga., 30281.