A Pittsburgh-area teenager has collected donations and supplies to stuff 3,000 Christmas stockings for active-duty Navy personnel working on a United States aircraft carrier.
Collin Arthrell, who has two brothers serving in the Navy, has fully embraced military culture with not just his family but for Christmas as well.
On the Arthrells’ lawn sits a vast display of military-themed Christmas decorations, including a replica of the USS George Washington, where his siblings are stationed. “It’s 18 feet long,” Arthrell told KDKA News. “The bushes are raising it up so it’s like on water. You got the blue lights, which resembles the water.”
The 14-year-old boy was inspired by his brothers to start “Stockings 4 Sailors” in 2018, which had the teenager collecting donations and simple gifts for servicemen and women.
“I’m inspired by my brothers because I’ve looked up to them my whole childhood,” he said. “It makes me feel warmth I can still have a connection to them.”
“There’s candy, a message from someone from a school, you got your phone chargers, toothpaste, toothbrush, loofa,” Arthrell told reporters. He added that there were items donated by military families from across the United States.
A local woman named Darla Losteter stopped by the residence to give donations and said she donates because she has military in her family, as well.
“We like to give them stuff at holidays too because they are not forgotten,” she said.
In December, the Arthrell family will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, to deliver the 3,000 stuffed stockings to the military members on board the ship.
“It’s a giving holiday, so I think you should give to those who are doing a much-needed support for the country. Giving them something would boost their morale and help them out,” the boy added.
“I just love them,” the younger brother said of his siblings.
Brothers Carson and Christian Arthrell are aboard the USS George Washington in Virginia. The nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was built in the mid-1980s and has a crew of over 6,000.
In March 2023, Stars and Stripes reported that the carrier has begun preparations to replace the USS Ronald Reagan in Japan.
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