Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

December 7, 2013

A Military Christmas

Nation's angels being remembered this holiday season

Athens — A mother’s love has far reaching effects.

Amy Hillhouse has sent her daughter Kaylee care packages on a routine basis to provide for her basic needs.

A 2009 Martin’s Mill graduate, Kaylee Hillhouse is currently stationed in Afghanistan at Camp Leatherneck as she serves in the U.S. Navy.

With Christmas approaching, Amy thought she would send a couple more packages to a couple of Kaylee’s closest friends on the base.

When Kaylee responded with a list of 21, Amy was floored, but like most mothers she stepped into action out of love for her daughter, and our nation.

“I normally send stuff like Ritz crackers, cheese, summer sausage and other things she likes, including a lot of candy,” Amy said. “I asked her for a few names, I was thinking maybe five.”

Kaylee mentioned what her mother was doing to a roommate, Cela Sibley, who in turn wanted packages sent to a couple more friends.

Sibley, now stationed in Kandahar, added close to 10 names as the list grew from just a handful of care packages to more than 30.

“Cela sent me 10 and my daughter sent 21. I wondered how I would be able to send packages to more than 30 people and I started to become upset because I was thinking I did not want to say no to any of them,” Amy said. “I told my boss about it and he told me not to worry about it. He told me he had some friends and clients who would love to help.”

Amy’s boss Jody Lemons of Lemon’s Equipment in Brownsboro helped secure 10 people who were willing to help make Christmas a little brighter for our military.

“I am so thankful for Jim Shelton, Hugh Cariver, Lynn Bottoms, Gary Smith, Bill Basset, Red Fields, Gene Tibloto, Lee Thorton, David Miller and Rodger Smith for teaming with Lemon’s Equipment,” Amy said.

With the team coming together, Amy reached out to her sister Becky Sparks who is a teacher at  Martins Mill ISD.

Sparks talked with co-worker Wendy Brantley and the two thought this would be a great project for the Martin’s Mill Teen Leadership Class to assist with.

“Their team leadership class was looking for something to do for the holidays,” Amy said. “They decided to help so we got the 21 names from Camp Leatherneck and worked to fill boxes for them.”

Hillhouse said each box was filled with a variety of items from junk food to basic necessities like toilet paper.

Everyone received a stocking with socks, candy and more. Several of the packages were wrapped to make sure there was something special to open.

To make the packages more meaningful, Hillhouse and each of the students wrote letters to those serving overseas.

Once the 21 were spoken for, Hillhouse reached out on Facebook to find sponsors for the rest.

As of today, she has sent close to 50 packages.

“Everybody wanted to help,” she said. “The outpouring of support has been amazing.”

It costs $14.85 to ship a box through the U.S. Postal Service while Hillhouse estimates an average of $30 worth of goodies goes into each box.

Area post offices have stepped up to help with the delivery process. The Athens post office opened 30 minutes early the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to send out the 21 boxes to Afghanistan.

“I was really worried about taking away from the Angel Trees, but then I thought those are our kids that are out there and they don’t get to be home for Christmas. I could not think of any better way to help those serving our country,” Amy said.

Martin’s Mill ISD has been a big support in the project as the district’s FFA boosters, FFA officers, National Junior Honor Society and Spanish Club have all participated.

Individuals who have helped include Dwayne Grant, Anita Grant, Joe and Kris Tarrent, Crystal Williams, Theresa Rackow, Dee Mowery, DeeDee Anthony, Avril Hite, Eric and Kristi Whitaker, Amber and Tim Baskin, Melonie Bynog, Tommy Moody, Jason and DeAnna Haynes, Lisa Stephens, Annette Gaar, Kristi Perkins, Charlotte Lloyd, Jennifer Simmons, Terry Henderson, Jan McFar­land, Teresa King, Melody McCullogh, Debbie Cates, Stacey Oorick, George and Laprica Adams, Stevi Tarrazas, Marcos Rivera, and the Carpender family.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-22 BBR.JPG Black Beauty Ranch holds educational spring open house

    Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Doris Day Equine Center hosted their Spring Open House on April 12 and April 19.  Located in Murchison, these entities are both non-profit organizations that specialize in rescue, adoption and providing sanctuary to the unadoptable.

    April 22, 2014 10 Photos

  • 4-22 CROSS CARRIER.JPG Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ

    Jeremiah Roberts portrays Jesus Christ as he carries a cross down Mill Run Road enroute to the Henderson County Square, to re-enact Christ’s resurrection.  Hitting him with instruments to illustrate the inhumanity of the day were Tramaine Jordan and C.J. Douglas.  Also helping in the effort were Joyce Coleman, Amanda Jordan and a child, Rychis Douglas.  All are members of Petersburg Baptist Church.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif In the voter’s hands

    Elections have come and gone for years without the Athens Municipal Water Authority getting much attention. But this year, the fate of the entity is in the balance.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif CCL Rotary offers non-profit grants

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake offers a wide variety of grants to local non-profit organizations in Henderson County  and Kaufman County.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 Sharp arrest.jpg Man arrested near GBC for resisting

    The Henderson County Sheriff's Department responded to a disturbance involving an assault on Friday, April 18 at about 4:38 a.m. The assault occurred in the 100 block of Wedgewood Loop in the Oak Harbor Subdivision near Gun Barrel City.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo