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Tracy Frank, Published September 18 2012

Pieces of home: Army wife expands her sweet idea for troops

FARGO – What started out as an idea to do something special for her husband for Halloween has become a mission for Trista Bush to send treats to all of the troops serving with him in Afghanistan.

First Bush of Reiles Acres was just going to make a Halloween goodie bag for her husband, Christopher Bush, who is an Army sergeant currently serving in southeast Afghanistan.

Then she decided to make treat bags for all of his friends, and then the whole company, and then she figured she might as well try to make bags of candy for the entire base of almost 400 soldiers, she said.

“My idea kept expanding,” Bush said. “It jumped from one person to six people to 90 to hundreds.”

Bush has been buying bags of different candies to divide into orange Halloween bags, and her family has been helping put the bags together for the “Treats for Troops” project.

She has also approached some businesses for candy donations. Some places are even holding candy drives to help with Bush’s efforts, she said.

“I just appreciate so much what the troops have done for us that helping out seemed like a no brainer,” said Cassie Gylland, an Edward Jones financial advisor whose office, at 3105 North Broadway in Fargo, is serving as one of the drop-off locations for candy donations.

In addition to candy, Gylland said she has also received monetary donations from people in Minnesota Edward Jones offices to help offset Bush’s shipping costs.

The Edward Jones drop-off locations are available for public donations to Treats for Troops as well. Bush cannot take chocolate or any candy that might melt, but individually wrapped hard candies or things like Skittles or Smarties are good options, she said.

The other locations are Bert Cameron’s office at 1365 Prairie Parkway in West Fargo and Troy Ivesdal’s office at 1533 South University Drive in Fargo.

Bush started “Treats for Troops” about a month ago and hopes to have all of the candy collected by the first week of October so she can send it by off, she said.

Bush hasn’t told her husband what she’s doing but will explain in a letter when she sends him all of the candy to distribute.

“It’s a big surprise,” she said.

Christopher Bush has been in Afghanistan since mid-May and will be there until February, Trista Bush said. He left just two months after he and Trista married, she said.

“It’s super hard,” she said.

But doing things, like sending him the treat bags, makes her feel more connected to him, she said.

“I can’t make him dinner. He can’t come home to a clean house. I can’t do that sort of stuff so I like to send him things,” Bush said. “He says boxes coming from here are like a piece of home in box form so I try to do as many special things as possible.”

But not all of the troops have someone to send them care packages, which is why Bush is reaching out to everyone serving with her husband, she said.

“They love things; they love letters, something as simple as candy being sent from back home,” Bush said. “They are always working for the whole deployment and something as simple as that can make them happy.”

To contact Bush about Treats for Troops, call (480) 322-4329 or email tmill3630@gmail.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526