City woman sends mugs to warm her son, troops

By Julie Blum/

COLUMBUS - The mornings are so chilly the soldiers can see their breath.

But thanks to the help of a local woman and her co-workers, it won't take the members serving with the U.S. Marines 9th Engineer Support Battalion Company B too long to warm up.

Upon a request from her son, Master Sgt. Charles Daily, Gina Gwinner of Columbus collected more than 100 thermal mugs to send to the members of her son's company.

Gwinner stays in contact with her son, who has been serving at Camp Taqaddum Iraq since August, through e-mail. In one of their most recent correspondence he told his mom they could use thermal mugs to carry coffee and hot chocolate. The Styrofoam cups they use just don't cut it when traveling along the land in their vehicles.

“I think it was like in the first part of November. He said it was really cold over there, especially at night. When they are out in their Humvees, they don't have anyway to stay warm. He was just hoping some charitable organization would chip in and help,” Gwinner said.

Gwinner talked to her family about it and also posted fliers at her work asking for monetary donations so she could buy mugs and ship them off.

Within a few days, Gwinner said she had enough money to order 100 mugs - one for each member of the company - from Wal-Mart. She boxed them up and sent them out the first week of December. Because of the generous donations from her co-workers at B-D, Gwinner said she had enough money to purchase a total of 151 mugs. The extra mugs were to be distributed to other military companies.

Gwinner said it was nice to see so many people wanting to give.

“They just walked up to me and gave me money and said, ‘here.' I was really quite surprised,” she said.

In an e-mail sent to his mom, Daily said his company is appreciative for the gifts.

“Thanks for these mugs. The guys are drinking a lot of coffee and hot cocoa on these cold night missions,” Daily wrote. “We can see our breath. Can you believe it? It is supposed to get to 20 degrees here on Thursday, that is wind chill. I thought I was in the desert.”

Daily is from Indiana and Gwinner said his company should be back in the states in April. In Iraq, Company B has been working on building an Iraqi police station in the city of Khalidyah.