Denny Dewitt and the Desert Angel's Packing Party

“it does my heart good,” says Denny DeWitt of his concerted efforts to solicit donations and to organize Miracle Box Packing Parties.

DeWitt, who served in Vietnam between 1967 and 1970, has undertaken the get together at the Lakes Area Rotary Club in honor of LCPL Justin Ellsworth, a Marine killed in action in November 2004.  Many of the packers who volunteered both time, money and love to build ‘care’ packages to send to our troops in the Middle East wore t-shirts with Ellsworth’s photo prominently displayed with the word’s ‘Our Hero’

Born July 16, 1984, Ellsworth was a Mount Pleasant resident who had been a Combat Engineer, 2d Platoon, Company A, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II.  On November 13, 2004 he encountered an IED.  Determining the location and the fact that the device was detonated by remote control, he alerted the rest of his unit shortly before the device exploded, mortally wounding him.  He was twenty years old.

For his selfless display of bravery, he was awarded the Bronze Star Citation Combat Distinguished Service.

Ellsworth was the son of John Ellsworth, Wolverine Lake police captain and President of Military Families United, a local advocacy organization.

DeWitt recalls that during his time in Vietnam, packages from home were few and far between, so he has undertaken this marvelous effort so that our current servicemen understand that we have neither forgotten them nor are willing to forsake them.

Each box contains such items as instant foods and snacks, candy, zip lock bags, magazines and comfort items such as eye drops, Chapstick, lotion, stick deodorant, bug repellent and razors.

“There are even feminine products,” says DeWitt, referencing a new view of combat since his days in Vietnam.  “Women in the field need things too.  There are also Beanie Babies that can be distributed to the children in the towns and villages overseas.”

It is an unusual and heartwarming way to change lives in the Middle East, but typical of the spirit and compassion of Vietnam Vets.



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