Genesee Students Coordinate Holiday Collection Effort for Troops Stationed in Iraq

Seventy-six boxes were stacked head-high along a wall in the Genesee Community College shipping area last week, awaiting shipment to Iraq. Each box contained an assortment of items – from baby wipes to books, batteries to beef jerky – intended to make a happy holiday for the soldiers currently serving in the Middle East.

The massive collection was organized by Genesee’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a group that serves to recognize and encourage the achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership, and service programming.

“Once again, Genesee Community College and the Western New York community came out strong to help those in need during the holidays,” said Dr. Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Phi Theta Kappa Advisor. “We are sure the troops will be delighted to know that the people of Western New York care about them and are grateful for the sacrifices they are making for our country.”
Dr. Alicea-Maldonado noted that it was a total community effort to assemble the care packages. Phi Theta Kappa received contributions from stores, churches, and community members in addition to donations from Genesee students, faculty, and staff.

Packages were sent to the following soldiers, all currently stationed in Iraq, who will then distribute the items among their colleagues:

• SPC Rafael Cirino
• SPC Joseph Drobka
• PFC Aaron Erickson
• SSG Morris Foster
• SSS Troy Gittings
• SSG Alex Johnson
• SGT Joshua Markfort
• SGT Andrew McCann
• CPL James Mueller
• SPC Daniel Williams
• SPC Antwon Winder

“The members of Phi Theta Kappa are thrilled that we were able to send such a generous donation to the men and women serving overseas this holiday season,” Alicea-Maldonado said.

In addition to the care packages, Phi Theta Kappa has been actively involved in collecting old cell phones for recycling as part of Keep America Beautiful’s Wipe Out Wireless Waste project, which aims to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. The group recycled 49 cell phones and accessories as a result of this initiative.

For more information contact Dr. Rafael Alicea-Maldonado at 585-343-0055 x6391 or by email at

Editor’s Note: A photograph of the 76 care packages being prepared for shipment by PTK Vice President Kevin Nadrowski (left) and Colleen Kowalczyk (right) to the troops stationed in Iraq is available here: Troop Collection.jpg