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Local student sends thousands of military care packages to our troops

By: Ted Kortan, newsnet5.com
November 30, 2011

CLEVELAND - Dylan DeSilva is somewhat rare for a teenager. His instructors at Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, where he's studying diesel technologies, say DeSilva is a selfless young man.

The 19-year-old DeSilva founded a charity called Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops seven years ago when he was only 12-years-old. The group has been sending military care packages to servicemen and servicewomen overseas ever since.  According to DeSilva, more than 12,000 boxes of toiletries, treats and trinkets have been sent in total.

Just last week, hundreds of volunteers gathered in DeSilva's hometown, Brewster, Massachusetts, and packed up more than 2,000 care boxes for the troops.

Most of the care packages are already in the mail, but 300 remain because they don't have enough postage to send them on their way.

DeSilva told NewsChannel5 he needs roughly $4,000-$5,000 to get the mailings to the troops in time for the holidays. OTC will match up to $2,500 that viewers of NewsChannel5 and readers of newsnet5.com contribute.


Cape Cod Cares continues mission for troops abroad
By Karen Jeffrey - Cape Cod Times

BOURNE Just as he did 43 years ago in Vietnam, Charles J. Sooy Jr., worked up a sweat taking care of the troops.

Back then he was one of the Tiger Hounds, an Air Force crew that worked on aircraft flying out of Pleiku in the central highlands of Vietnam.

This weekend, he was one of about 400 people who worked out of the Trowbridge Tavern in Bourne for two days putting together Christmas packages for U.S. sailors and soldiers serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was his fourth year volunteering with Cape Cod Cares for the Troops, a nonprofit group that sends Christmas care packages and gifts to named U.S. soldiers and sailors serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"I'll do anything I can to help the troops," said Sooy, a Bourne resident. "We didn't have this kind of thing when I was serving and boy, it was always nice to get a package from home. ... With each package I do, I'm thinking about the person who will receive it and hope the best for them."

Nicole Ivers of Forestdale was another of the volunteers on hand Sunday. Last year, her husband Edward Ivers, a helicopter pilot with the 126th Aviation unit of Massachusetts Army National Guard, was a recipient of a gift box packed by volunteers.

"He was here yesterday," she said of her recently retired husband. "I know when he got the box it really meant a lot to him. Today I'm here doing this to say thanks to the people who sent the boxes last year and to say thanks to the troops who will be receiving them."

For the eighth consecutive year, volunteers with this nonprofit have raised funds and donations for the seasonal gift packages sent overseas. To date, they have sent 10,580 care packages.

And each year on one specified weekend they have packed and sealed Christmas gifts that are then mailed to the sailors and soldiers. The group's goal this year is to send 2,000 Christmas care packages to troops, many of whom might not receive any other gift.

The group is still about $4,000 short of the money needed to mail all the packages. There is a waiting list that includes about 300 names, according to organizers. The packages are addressed to individuals names that come from military chaplains and commanders who have noticed troops who don't receive personal mail. In addition, friends and family members often request packages be sent. The recipients represent just about every state in the country.

"There are a lot of families out there who just can't afford to send anything," said Michelle DeSilva of Brewster, whose son Dylan was the impetus for the gift-giving campaign. "Kind of breaks your heart."

Dylan DeSilva, who is studying heavy diesel engineering at Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, was 12 years old in 2004 when he began collecting money and donations to send gifts to troops. What began as one young boy's effort grew into a nonprofit organization. On Saturday, about 300 volunteers showed up to pack snack foods, hygiene products, candy, personal cards and fully stuffed Christmas stockings into boxes destined for individual soldiers and sailors. The organization sends care packages year-round as donations become available.

Throughout the day DeSilva called repeatedly from Ohio asking, "Did you do this, did you do that," his mother said Sunday. "We sent him pictures all day, but he kept calling," she said laughing. "Finally I had to tell him, Dylan, you trained us well. We can handle this."

Sunday November 6, 2011

Balls to the Wall in Hyannis held the 4th annual Paintball Tournament where $6000.00 was raise to help with the cost of shipping the Christmas Packages. Thank you Chris Court, the Balls to the Wall Staff, and all of the paintball teams that participated.


On Saturday October 8th over 250 runners participated in the 3rd Annual Canal Run for the Troops and over $10,000.00 dollars was raised for our Christmas Care Packages.  Thank you to race organizer Tom Lynch, race timers Finish Line Management and to all of our sponsors and volunteers.



On September 28th the Monument Beach Sportsman's Club presented Cape Cod Care's for the Troops a check for $1000.00 for our Wounded Warrior Program. Thank you to the club members for their continues support!



On September 25th, 375 corvettes staging for the caravan for the Vettes to Vets Event. Below, members of the New England Corvette Club unloading a truck full of donations for Cape Cod Cares for the Troops.


On September 18th, Cape Cod Cares for the Troops and Rock Harbor Charter Boat Association hosted  the 1st Annual SGT Mark Vecchione Fishing Trip.  Sixteen boats filled with military members went on a four hour deep sea  fishing trip.  A BBQ dinner was held at the Orleans Eastham Elks Club.   It was an amazing day and the perfect way to honor a Fallen Hero.



On September 17, the 2nd Annual Bravehearts Awards were held at the Wareham Crossing.  Gold Star Mother Cynthia Deslauriers
received a Braveheart Award for her dedication in supporting our troops. Flags were displayed for each person who died on 9/11/01 and supplies were collected for care packages going to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.



The Outdoor Message

By Stacy Kehoe

August 2011

The Monument Beach Sportsman's Club, in conjunction with Cape Cod Cares for the Troops, opened up their club for the second year to the Wounded Warriors.

A number of Wounded Warriors, their family members and medical support staff were treated to a day of shooting on June 3rd.  Club members and Entergy Security of Pilgrim Nuclear Station supplied firearms, ammunition, safety equipment and other related items.  Several local businesses made either service/item donations or cash donations as sponsors to help cover additional expenses.

The Wounded Warriors spent their time on the archery range, the trap field, indoor pistol range and outdoor rifle range.  Two of the most talked about activities were the archery range and an impromptu 100 yard egg shoot on the rifle range.

The Wounded Warriors were served a picnic lunch and at the end of the day they were treated to a pig roast with all the "fixings".

Members of the Monument Beach Sportsman's Club are already planning for next years event for these American Heroes! It is a worthwhile cause and we encourage other sportsman's club to step up and do the same.



May 30, 2011

HYANNIS While many get to sleep late this Memorial Day, about 15 people from the Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops team had no sleep at all Sunday night because of their dedication to a good cause.

They will have spent all night awake at the Kmart plaza parking lot on Route 132 raising money and collecting care package items for troops stationed overseas.

Called the largest Memorial Day event in New England, Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops' seventh annual Troops in the Spotlight ceremony on Sunday included Gold Star families, World War II veterans and many others.

A core group also planned to stay up for 24 hours along with military personnel who will be standing at attention on a stage in one-hour shifts for 24 hours. The military personnel were to face Route 132 like living statues from noon Sunday to noon today.

The seventh annual event, designed to get people to remember the service of all veterans and collect goods for those currently serving, brought out hundreds of people.

Belated welcome

One portion of the ceremony offered a proper "welcome home" to Vietnam War veterans.

A bagpipe band played, and about 40 Vietnam veterans stated their name and their military service, each time receiving loud applause. A few middle-aged men wiped away tears as they accepted handshakes from active military.

"My job (in Vietnam) was to find pilots of crashed aircraft, dead or alive," said Don Douglas, of Mashpee. "When we got back home to Logan Airport, we were spit on. Now people shake my hand. It's shocking."

"They had the harshest welcome home," said Kevin Matthews, a WCOD disc jockey who served as master of ceremonies for the event.

Matthews talked about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which has 58,267 names on it, he said. Of those, there are three sets of fathers and sons, he said. Twelve of the soldiers on the wall were 17; five were 16; and one soldier was 15, he said.

Also, 997 soldiers died on their first day; another 1,400 died on what was to be their last, he said.

"Due to the tenor of the times, unfortunately, they were treated horribly," Matthews said. "They are heroes like everyone else."

Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops was started seven years ago by Dylan DeSilva, who was then 12. His vision was to send weekly care packages to the troops. Since then, DeSilva said, he has sent more than 10,300 care packages to troops.

DeSilva, now 18, had planned to join the U.S. Marines following his high school graduation. But a scoliosis diagnosis changed his plans. He will now enter Ohio Technical College in the fall, he said.

He is still collecting care package goods.

'How much that means'

U.S. Army Spc. Daniel Small attended yesterday's event to thank Dylan.

"I just got back from Afghanistan," Small said. "For Christmas everyone in my unit got a care package. No one knows how much that really means."

Several longtime supporters of the Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops also received thanks.

Small gave flags that flew in Afghanistan to several people, including former state Rep. Jeffrey Perry. "Every month I got a card, a package, something from Jeff Perry to keep me going," Small said.

In a particularly moving part of the ceremony, seven Gold Star families whose sons were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored.

The goal of the 24-hour event is to fill a 26-foot truck with supplies and raise $20,000. For more information visit www.capecod4thetroops.com.


High Road School of East Bridgewater   May 2, 2011

Teacher Jennifer Estes (left) with two students who earned funds to purchase supplies for care packages for our troops.  Michelle DeSilva went to visit the High Road School and share information about how and why Dylan started  Cape Cod Cares for the Troops.



Dylan, SPC Dan Small just returning home from Afganistan, and J.D.

Compass Athletics Supports the Troops   April 9, 2011

Open House and Support Our Troops Event at Compass Athletics in Sandwich. Thank you for your donations and to everyone who stopped by!

Dylan with Rebecca Silva holding a thank you card Rebecca sent to Dylan in 2005.
Rebecca received a care package from Dylan while serving in Iraq in 2004-2005.


Joan Martel at High Cliff Senior Housing in Plymouth held a donation drive for Cape Cod Cares for the Troops on April 9, 2011. A truckload of supplies were donated for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you to Joan and her friends.


On St. Patrick's Day, St. Pius X School's students collected 8 large boxes of supplies and donated them to Cape Cod Cares for the Troops as part of their "Operation Camo Sham".


~ Wednesday February 9th ~

Cape Cod Cares for the Troops was proud to partner with Cape Cod Technical high School in Harwich, Massachusetts. THANK YOU for your help!

Students volunteered to pack 100 toiletry bags for a Medi-Vac Unit in Afghanistan, 55 school book bags, and dozens of boxes of toys, puzzles, games and Beanie Babies were packed for Operation Care. A military organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aide in Afghanistan.


Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops
P.O. Box # 1444 Harwich, MA. 02645
(774) 216-9052