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Bellevue worker enlisting people to adopt Marines

Staff Sgt. Lisa Mechaley has been a Marine for 13 years. - Submitted photo
Staff Sgt. Lisa Mechaley has been a Marine for 13 years.
— image credit: Submitted photo

When Carol Maples decided she wanted to help the troops, the licensed massage therapist at Massage4BusyBees in Bellevue began her search via the Web. There she found the Ryan Rust, Adopt a Marine program.

The Website allows deployed Marines and other servicemen and women the opportunity to sign up to be adopted by civilians, who in turn will send letters, e-mails, requested items and care packages.

“I wanted to let the troops know that they aren’t forgotten even when they don’t make the top headline or the evening news,” Maples explained, who is now on her fifth adopted Marine. “I felt they were in harm’s way because of me and all other Americans, because we elected their boss. I wanted them to know that I care.”

On the ryanrust.com site, those interested in adopting a Marine input basic information about themselves and will then be matched with a military personnel currently deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The program was started by race car driver Ryan Rust, a sophomore at Treasure Coast High School in Florida and his father, Marcel. The inspiration for the program came after Ryan’s grandfather Earl urged Marcel to ship packages to friends of the family who were deployed in Afghanistan.

Although most Marines and servicemen have family waiting for them back home, some have no one to send them letters or e-mails. Ryan and his father saw a need and decided to launch the program and promote it through advertising and word of mouth.

To help support the continued success of the program, the Adopt a Marine icon can be seen zipping by on the race track, painted on the side of Ryan’s race car.

As the word spread, a large number of Marines jumped at the chance to correspond with someone back in the states.

“There was a big influx of people adopting Marines over the holiday season and so many Marines signed on,” Maples explained. “But now, people seem to have forgotten.”

Maples is quick to point out that participation in the Ryan Rust program or one similar to it does not require a huge financial commitment. About once a month, she pays $8.95 for a flat-rate shipping box from her local post office and stuffs it full of magazines, books, snack food and any other inexpensive requests she receives through communication.

“The first Marine I adopted wanted Easy Mac,” Maples joked and added, “It’s so cheap here but over there it’s like gold.”

These days, Maples corresponds through e-mails with Staff Sgt. Lisa Mechaley, a Marine for nearly 13 years and a mom of two. Because of the Marines’ limited access to the Internet, communication can be slow coming, but Maples continues to look forward to each new message.

“It’s an honor to get to know her through e-mails and letters and a joy to send off boxes of goodies,” Maples explained.

The packages are first shipped within the states to a secured location and are then sent overseas.

“It’s a really big sacrifice and it’s sad that the (war) has become lost in the shuffle of everyday life,” Maples said.

As an added incentive for public participation in the Ryan Rust Adopt a Marine program, Maples is offering $25 off a massage or gift certificate to be used at Massage4BusyBees in Bellevue. Simply sign up for the program on www.ryanrust.com and bring in a copy of the confirmation e-mail to receive the discount on a massage service.

Massage4BusyBees is located at 15935 Northeast 8th, Suite A104, Massage4BusyBees.com, 425-894-6090.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or 425-453-4602.

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