Seeks to provide soldiers in Iraq with holiday bundles

In a recent article (“Family Aims To Help Soldiers See at Night,” Suburban, Oct. 14), we read about my son, First Sgt. Francis Bal, a Sayreville resident and West Windsor police officer who had recently been called up from the U.S. Army Reserve to serve in Iraq. Francis had been sent over in September and was facing some shortages of night-vision goggles.

Paralleling the efforts of our family to gather support to get Francis’ unit the much-needed night-vision goggles, his battalion commander had been working with his superiors to do the same.

In a recent conversation, Francis indicated that his commander had successfully commandeered enough new night-vision goggles to support the whole unit. This was good news for Francis’ wife and my wife and I.

The efforts to solicit donations will now be focused on providing Francis’ unit with holiday packages. One of the schools that recently adopted Francis’ unit sent over a large package of Halloween candy. When some of the First Infantry troops came back from a two-week field excursion, Francis put the candy out in front of his door, and it was devoured by the troops.

Efforts are now concentrated on Christmas stockings that are being assembled by family, friends and school classes. The stockings must be sent by mid-November in order to get there by the holidays.

Our family is working closely with everyone to ensure that the holiday packages are put together and sent in a timely fashion. My company, ITT Industries, has also adopted Francis’ unit and has been collecting personal items that will be sent to his unit.

For more information, or to arrange to make a donation, call Elizabeth Bal at (732) 727-5450.

All of our troops appreciate the support we are giving them.

Frank Bal