Veterans Day is still a few days away. But on Wednesday, one group of Wilmington residents found a way to thank troops for their service, just as they do every week at the same time.
Local Heroes, which celebrated its eighth anniversary on November 3, packed its 16,000th package on Wednesday night during their weekly trip to Knights of Columbus to pack boxes for troops serving overseas.
For Local Heroes founder Lou Cimaglia, there is just one word to describe the milestone.
“Humbling,” said Cimaglia. “It’s been an amazing show of support. It’s been an amazing show of support. For the residents of Wilmington and us to do what we do every week for eight years, and to hit 16,000 all in one week, it’s a great experience.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of running Local Heroes is seeing the young Wilmington residents who come down to volunteer on a weekly basis. Many times when students finish their required hours, they continue to volunteer.
Cimaglia also said the group takes on a different meaning since many times family members of soldiers currently serving come down while the packages are being put together. They are able to connect, share stories, and most importantly support each other.
“We’ve become a support group as well,” said Cimaglia. “We have a lot of family members with loved ones overseas who can talk amongst each other, and that is really important.”
Several months ago Cimaglia was recognized for his work with Local Heroes when he was named the Myra Kraft Community MVP grand prize winner, . Then over the summer, the Patriots organization sent representatives to pack boxes with Local Heroes.
But the connection between Local Heroes and the Patriots doesn’t end there.
On Sunday, Cimaglia will head to Gillette Stadium to represent his non-profit organization in helping pack boxes that will be sent to troops overseas. Then before the game, he will be on the field with several others to help hold the giant American Flag that will be stretched across the field before the Patriots kick off against the Buffalo Bills.
“It’s a time of year when people remember those who are serving,” said Cimaglia. “And obviously I am all about that.”