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Operation Gus

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August 24, 2005

Albany- Earlier this month, people came from all over South Georgia, lining the street with flags to honor the life of Specialist Gus Brunson. Now, friends and family ask you to help turn his last wish into reality.

"Instead of something for him, he wanted something for the children in Iraq to play with, because you know they don't have much over there to play with," said Katrina Camp, Brunson's friend.

During his time in Iraq, Brunson often e-mailed family and friends. Just before his 30th birthday, he asked them to send toys for children in Iraq instead of presents for his birthday June 29th. He died weeks later when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb. Operation Gus hopes to collect as many toys as possible to make that dying wish come true. Friends are asking for small, simple toys, anything from a stuffed animal to a book.

"Simple coloring books or colored pencils, you can't send crayons because they'll melt. Balls and games, simple toys for them to play with," said Camp.

The group discourages toy guns and Barbie type dolls. All toys need to be collected by October 10th. The National Guard hopes to pay the shipping costs overseas. Operation Gus has also been in contact with a major retailer for help.

"We've got a contact at Walmart and we've got the paperwork in the mail to get to Walmart for them to be able to donate," said Camp.

Friends say this is a fitting tribute for a man who so often thought of others over himself. "We're sorry that it's happening this way, but because of the type of person that he is with the publicity that this is getting and the number of children it's going to affect, he would just be flabbergasted," said James Camp, a friend of 17 years.

Family and friends have already set up several drop off points. Toys are being collected at the National Guard Armory in Cordele and at the Tax Office in Sylvester.

You can link to the Operation Gus Web site at www.geocities.com/gloaystep1970/Tribute_4_Gus.html

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