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Montrose woman to receive Colo. National Guard’s highest civilian award 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013

CONTACT:
Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Skye Robinson
720-785-3860

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – The Adjutant General of Colorado will present the highest Colorado National Guard state award that can be given to a civilian in a ceremony scheduled for Aug. 15 at 4 p.m. at the Montrose Armory in Montrose, Colo.

Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, who commands the Colorado National Guard, will present the Colorado Meritorious Service Medal to Marta Taylor, co-founder of Operation Sweet Tooth and Montrose resident who, for more than a decade, has continually sent care packages to deployed service members and to service members receiving medical treatment for wounds sustained as a result of combat operations or in a combat theater of operations.   

“Taylor has dedicated the last 10 years of her life to the welfare and well-being of the men and women who are in harm’s way on freedom’s frontier,” Edwards said.

The Meritorious Service Medal is the highest Colorado National Guard state award that can be presented to any person serving in any capacity, in or with the Colorado National Guard, who distinguished him or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the state.

To date, Taylor has hand packed more than 11,500 cardboard boxes – more than 394,000 pounds – of goodies meant to bring a touch of home to forward-deployed Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

Among the recipients of Taylor’s generosity are many Colorado National Guard Soldiers of Company C, 109th Area Support Medical Battalion, who were assigned to the Montrose Armory when they received a short-notice deployment notification in January 2003.

“We learned at 3 p.m. on a Friday that we were deploying and we left that Sunday,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Dudley. “On Saturday night, Ms. Taylor and her husband personally delivered at least 30 pizzas to us.

“I had so much on my mind – my husband and I were both part of the unit and we were suddenly leaving our kids and trying to prepare our unit and our family, and we didn’t know exactly what we were getting into – yet they had the forethought to feed us.

“And they just kept on giving – not just giving to the National Guard, but to anyone. Everything was overwhelming at the time, but Marta and her late husband were both very generous and never thought about themselves, just what they could do for the troops.”    

Each one of the over-stuffed boxes Taylor has sent to troops weighs between 35 to 50 pounds each and contains items such as candy, elk jerky, books, magazines, cooling bandanas, personal toiletries, bibles, socks, peanuts, baby wipes and much more.

“What makes this feat of true patriotism even more remarkable is that Ms. Taylor, who is 74 years young, less than 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, actually packs and takes each box to the post office to be mailed around the world,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Berube, Colorado Army National Guard command sergeant major.  “These kind and selfless acts gives our men and women a brief taste of the home they serve to defend and protect.”   

“There are hundreds and hundreds – if not thousands – of letters and certificates of thanks to recognize Ms. Taylor’s efforts and her remarkable story,” Edwards said. “Marta Taylor’s extraordinary efforts to provide our warriors a taste of home – making their deployment a bit more bearable, and showing our service members that the American people have not forgotten their sacrifices – is nothing short of incredible, and we’re so proud that she accomplishes all of this from her home in the great state of Colorado.”

Since 2003, Taylor has continuously sent care packages to Iraq, Germany, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Korea, and several other locations around the world where U.S. servicemen and women stand watch.   

On March 29, Taylor’s stepson Trenton, a Vietnam Veteran, nominated her the Presidential Citizens Award.  This is the second highest citizen award presented by the president of the United States; the only higher honor is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Related story: Montrose woman packs up support for troops, box by box, year by year (Denver Post)

FOR ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Media are welcome to attend this event. The Montrose Armory is located at 12147 6390 Rd., Montrose, Colo., 81401. Colorado National Guard members who have been recipients of Taylor’s generosity will be available for interviews.

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8/13/2013