WAYLAND— Six Wayland-Cohocton alumni currently serving overseas received care packages and live Christmas trees from the Wayland American Legion and the Wayland community.

The soldiers were very grateful to get a little piece of home right before the holidays. The program, Hometown Heroes, provides care packages and live Christmas trees each year to area soldiers who are serving overseas.

The program began a few years ago and has been growing steadily since. Post Commander Kevin Mark explained sending the care packages is a way to remind the area soldiers that their hometown hasn’t forgotten about them.

“We want them to know we’re always thinking about them,” Mark said. “Especially around the holidays.”

Rochelle Sulli, a Blue Star Mother and active Legion member, only asks that the soldiers to send a picture of them with their care packages and tree.

“We just like to know they received them,” Sulli said. “It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning, seeing them open their packages. It always bring a tear to my eye.”

This year, the Legion sent 88 boxes to seven Way-Co alumni filled with donated items. The soldiers shared them with other troops stationed with them.

Senior Airman Megan Rauber, a 2010 graduate of Wayland-Cohocton, who is currently serving in Korea was extremely thankful for the packages from home.

“I want to send a huge thank you to the Wayland American Legion, Rochelle Bachtelle Sulli and everyone at Wayland-Cohocton Central School and in our community that contributed to putting together care packages for troops away from their families during the holidays. You all have no idea what it means to have the support of the community, especially during this time of year,” said Rauber.

She continued “I shared all the packages with my flight here in Korea and we were all especially shocked and excited when we got a real live Christmas tree in the mail! Really, these packages were the greatest gift we could have asked for, thank you so much!”