Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Local women send soldiers unique care packages

Water balloons, sticky frogs and squirt guns sound like silly toys for children, but one group is sending them overseas to local soldiers.

"I don't like to send boring things," said Kelly Miholic, who serves on the staff council at IUPUI.

She started sending unique care packages to her husband when he was deployed overseas.

"They get cookies and candy galore. They get so much food, they really can't eat it all. So I would send smut novels and silly string and bubbles," she said.

It was such a hit at her husband’s base, she and co-worker Kristy Chapman created 'Make a Soldier Smile' and started collecting silly items like temporary tattoos, toys, even romance novels.

They've managed to send three shipments of hundreds of goodies to Hoosier soldiers around the world and they've gotten lots of praise in return.

"So much of the time... what you're doing is extremely important, extremely serious that when you do have the down time, you want to go back to being a 10-year-old again," explained Jim Girdley, a linguist manager for the military based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He said everytime a ‘Make a Soldier Smile’ package comes in, there is a frenzy. He said it helps them relax.

"You don't want to say it's a break from reality, it's a break to a different reality, because your norm is so intense," said Girdley.

Miholic and Chapman said they simply appreciate the friendships they have made along the way.

"They wanna have as good as time they can possibly have with the situation they've got," said Miholic.

The women are taking donations, but they said you don’t have to spend a lot of money on the items. Instead, they suggest you dig up old toys and knick knacks you might already have in your home.

If you’d like to help, you can contact ‘Make a Soldier Smile’ at

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun