Nearly 2,700 DVDs have been collected for distribution to the brigade before their deployment, donated through Family Video's "Movies for the Troops" promotion.
The national video chain's promotion, which originated in 2008 in South Carolina and went companywide in 2011, works like this: From the first of November to mid-December, Family Video customers nationwide and visitors to familyvideo.com can purchase a movie for as little as $1 to be donated to the troops. Customers also can donate movies from their personal collections.
Family Video stores in each community then work with local military organizations to coordinate shipments of movies to troops locally and around the world.
During last year's promotion period, Trevor Rice, Family Video district manager for central Kansas, collected DVDs from stores in Salina, McPherson, Junction City and Newton.
Rice then contacted Rachel Hinde, director of communications and military affairs for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, to arrange to have boxes of DVDs delivered to troops in the area.
Hinde knew exactly where the movies should go.
"We have two battalions deploying to Afghanistan from the Combat Aviation Brigade in the next three weeks or so, so it's a perfect time to give videos to each soldier," Hinde said.
Each soldier will be given three to five movies to enjoy during their downtime overseas.
Hinde said any leftover DVDs will be kept for future deploying troops and for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council's "Friend to Hero" program, which matches military service members and their families with others for emotional support before, during and after deployment.
The movies, Hinde said, will help "bring normalcy to the (soldiers') lives while they're abroad."
Rice, who has worked for Family Video five years, said the "Movies for the Troops" program gives him great satisfaction.
"It's just something to give back to the troops to show them we appreciate what they do," he said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services