Many high school students spend their summer relaxing or visiting with friends. But one Dawson County teen gave his summer up to provide comfort for those far from home.
Gilbert Pruitt, a junior at Dawson County High School, spent his summer making items for care packages to send to armed forces troops stationed overseas.
"Gilbert has done a variety of volunteering, at church, Dawson County Senior Center and making get well cards for the hospital patients, among other things," said his mother Sarah Pruitt, a P.E. teacher at Black's Mill Elementary. "He said he wanted to do something for American service members."
Pruitt contacted The Hugs Project, founded by Karen and Ray Stack, who suggested he make cooling neck ties, known as "Chilly Willies," and prayer rocks. According to Karen Stack, prayer rocks were the most requested item by service members.
Pruitt began by working a few hours each day. By the end of the summer, he was able to ship more than 80 cooling neck ties for care packages.
The neck ties are used to keep troops cool in the heat by wetting them and placing them around their neck. He is preparing to ship more than 1,000 prayer rocks.
According to Pruitt, these projects have allowed him to show his appreciation for what the service members are doing for our country.
"These items will be included in care packages to the troops," he said. "The cool neck ties and prayer rocks will be easy for soldiers to put in their pocket."
Pruitt also appreciates the assistance with his project from others.
"One lady from my church donated hundreds of rocks for the project," he said. "Bags to package the prayer rocks were donated by another lady in the church."
RIC-Rack donated sheets to use to make the cool neck ties.
Pruitt hopes that when the troops reach into their pockets and pull out a tie or a rock, that they will be reminded that someone back home is thinking of them.
With each shipment, he begins working on the next.
"It is awesome to think of this as kind of a ‘hug' from home," he said.