Christmas has come early for local service members.
Members of Kentucky National Guard 206th Engineer Battalion were on hand at Independence Bank's Frederica Street location Friday, picking up items collected by bank employees and community members that will be shipped in care packages for troops overseas.
The collection was done as part of a "buzz project" where bank employees are divided into teams "and your goal is to impact the community, (to do) something to give back to your community," location manager Donna Galloway said.
Her group decided to give back to local military members through a "Christmas in July" drive.
According to Galloway, the national guard will distribute the packages overseas where needed, trying to focus on folks from the Daviess County region. Any items not needed overseas will be given to families who can use them, she said.
The goods were gathered near the entrance of the bank. Employees gathered in the lobby and leaned over railings of the upper stories, as a brief program got underway. Children held signs thanking the soldiers for their service.
While it's hard to quantify what they collected, Galloway said they collected magazines, word puzzles, food, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, soaps, wipes and toilet paper as well as DVDs and games for children of soldiers.
"The community got more involved than what we expected, which is great, and we're very thankful for that and our employees, as well. We're thankful for their donations," she said.
The bank began collecting goods July 1.
"It's a very humbling thing when the community calls you in to give you stuff," said Maj. Michael Lawson of the Owensboro-based 206th Engineer Battalion. "We hear ‘thank you for your service' all the time, and it's never too often. I know these soldiers work hard at what they do, prepared to go overseas if needed and prepared to help the community."