A Mummer’s mission to give back to servicemen and women

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The Murray Comic Club takes being American very seriously and one mummer in particular has spearheaded a special campaign.

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Sixty-six year old Jay Polakoff has been part of the Comic Division for 19 years, but it's what he does during the year that makes New Year's Day so special.

“We started about eight or nine years ago this campaign of putting together some packages initially sending them to club members relatives whom they have again children, cousin, nephews overseas. It expanded way past that,” said Polakoff.

During "Mummer time," September through February, Polakoff and the Murray Comic Club send about five to six packages to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan.

The packages started during operation Iraqi Freedom. Club members sent basic necessities to the Freedom Rest program, a place dedicated to providing soldiers a getaway from their work.

In 2010, the troops donated the American flag that flew over their base camp to the club and four members from the Color Guard marched with them on New Year's Day.

“The Color Guard showed up and it was some young troops who’ve just recently came back from Iraq and they saw all of the glitter and the glamour and the make up and the craziness.. as they walked off they turned around and said we want to be back next year and can we bring more people?”

They continued to march with the club for three consecutive years.

When the government pulled out of Iraq, the Freedom Rest program was cancelled. This didn't stop Polakoff and the Murray Comic Club from continuing their mission. Through their contacts in the military, they discovered the Pat Tillman Memorial Center. All donations currently go there.

Items include razors, toothbrushes, soap, clothing, reading materials, candy and other basic comfort supplies.

"The thanks that we get are the handwritten cards that come from the troops that we don’t even know who they are. They don’t know who we are and just tell us that we had a positive impact. I don’t know how you put a dollar amount on that gratitude.”

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