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A soldier from the Friedberg Judge Advocate General office is on a mission to put books into the hands of soldiers deployed to Iraq.

Spc. Heather Holder, noncommissioned officer in charge of Friedberg’s Trial Defense Service, is contacting major bookseller chains and publishers for donations of books for the troops to read during their down time.

“My fiancée (Sgt. Arthur Ford, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division) is in Iraq, and all he asks for is books, books, books,” Holder said. “I looked at my receipts and realized I’ve been spending up to $200 a month on books to send to him and for him to pass out to other soldiers.”

In all, Holder estimates she has sent about 75 books since the unit deployed to Iraq in May.

Yet, the requests for books haven’t let up.

To better meet the needs of the 1st Brigade soldiers, Holder last week began contacting major book chains and publishers for donations of new books.

She has secured about 25 books from a Borders Books in Syracuse, N.Y., where Holder will be on leave beginning in September. She contacted Penguin publishers, Amazon.com, Borders and Barnes & Noble by e-mail last week and has yet to receive responses.

While she is on leave, she plans to contact those companies and more publishing houses by telephone or in person.

“I figure if I contact them in that way, I’ll get more timely responses,” she said.

With hopes of raising 200 or more books for the brigade, Holder said she is also accepting donations from libraries and military families.

Although she is accepting hard or soft cover books, Holder said that paperbacks are much easier for the soldiers to carry around with them.

Based on the success of her campaign to raise books, Holder plans to seek help from local family readiness groups and USO’s to get the books shipped to Iraq and into the hands of the soldiers, she said.

Her ultimate goal is to have enough books to set up mini libraries for the troops in Iraq where soldiers can sign out books and later exchange them for more, she said.

“I can’t imagine my brigade is the only one over [there] that wants books,” she said. “I imagine that all the ‘Joes’ would like something to read in their downtime.”

Anyone interested in donating books can contact Holder between 1 and 7 p.m. at 0173-400-6452 or by e-mail at: empresshrenee@yahoo.com

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