ICIO's Operation Gift Pack

Inmates stand and sit behind Operation Gift Pack banner
ICIO inmates who participated in Operation Gift Pack
By Lt. Greg Heun, ICIO

About four years ago Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino offender Richard Hanes, IDOC #72212, was watching the Spokane news on television when a story came on in which the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan was being interviewed. What caught Hanes’ attention was something this grieved mother said. She said the best way to honor her son, Cpl. Josh Dumaw of the Marine Corps, would be to send care packages to the troops in war.

Hanes thought it would be a great project if he could get a care package program going at ICIO. Through his family he was able to make contact with the fallen Marine’s mother. She wrote to Hanes that she would be honored to have the inmates do this program in her son’s name.

Hanes worked with ICIO Warden Terema Carlin and ICIO Chaplain Todd Holcomb (using his office for donated commissary control) to get things going. Hanes met with offenders throughout the facility (getting word to Givens Hall and PC) explaining the program and interest soared in donating specific commissary items to the project.

The rest is history. Eleven shipments of 20 or more packages each have so far been sent to our fighting troops overseas, coordinated by Hanes through Ms. Dumaw. A shipment is sent every December consisting of at least 20 Christmas stockings, donated from a religious volunteer, filled with 19 to 20 contributed commissary items from offenders.

This shipment also contains the meltable items like chocolate (cooler weather in the Middle East). In July the next shipment is sent in shoeboxes containing items that are resistant to the higher heat. Each shipment sent also contains a care package to Cpl. Dumaw’s widowed wife and his son, who was born while he was at war and never met his dad.

Hanes said offender donations are coming from their heart. They do not get recognition in their C-notes or any other way for being part of this and those expressing interest are told just that. The program continues to be a big success.


Story published: 03/27/2014
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