By Rose L. Thayer

Fort Hood Herald

The soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion have a very large shipment headed their way thanks to their family readiness group's latest mission - Operation Stocking Stuffer.

Spouses spent two days filling 1,250 stocking with donated items, including movies, toiletries, snacks, candy canes and letters written by school children to send to Afghanistan.

"The idea sparked and we just ran with it," said Trisha Siegrist, readiness group leader and spouse of battalion commander Lt. Col. Jeremy Siegrist.

The spouses put a call out for donations in September and Siegrist said they were amazed by people's gifts that came in from all over the country.

"People want to do something and they don't know what to do," she said. "People want to help and they want to say thank you."

Tracy Hurlbut, a battalion spouse, was overwhelmed by the outpouring of donations.

"It's emotional to see the way people come together to help out," she said.

The unit deployed in April for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan for the first time in the unit's history.

The commander was actually home on leave during the operation and helped his wife with the stocking stuffing. Jeremy Siegrist said he knows all the effort back home will be really appreciated.

"Just knowing that the rear detachment and the families are so concerned about us in the holidays means a lot. Some might not get much, so this way they do get something and know that someone is thinking about them."

Battalion spouse Leigh Roper summed up the stockings with a simple statement: "It's like a hug from home."

Contact Rose L. Thayer at of (254) 501-7463.

Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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