Relief is on its way to US troops in Iraq – thanks to the combined efforts of a local Boy Scout troop, a Boston radio host, a drug manufacturer, and the staff at New England Eye Center.
Soothing eye drops for soldiers pummeled by high winds, desert sands and heat should arrive in time for the holidays, reports Scout Leader Jamisean Patterson. He heads Boy Scout Troop 45 of Cambridge, MA that organized the collection and shipment of a wide range of toiletries for the troops.
But this was no ordinary collection drive. It began during the fall when the scouts set up collection boxes at 33 polling places across the city of Cambridge on Election Day. Someone complained that the drive was political and demanded it be shut down. And much to the Scouts dismay, the boxes were confiscated. Of course, this made headlines and created fallout.
In steps WBZ’s evening talk show host Dan Rea who had troop leader Petterson on his “Nightside” program and helped set up donation boxes in the station’s front lobby. Among the many people who heard the story and organized workers in two New England Eye Center offices (Cambridge and Brighton at St. Elizabeth’s) to give items was Office Manager Linda Mikula. She took New England Eye Center employee’s donations of cash, bought Chapstick and other items and brought them to WBZ’s office.
Mikula also sought help from her Allergan, Inc. sales representative. Allergan, a specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company, makes a moisturizing eyedrop called “Optive.” It’s an expensive product, and free samples are few.
Well, perhaps because she asked so nicely, Allergan donated 16 cases of eyedrops – a total of 1,250 bottles – for the Scouts to send to the troops. Allergan’s Peter Sandblom delivered the cases on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and the same day, the Scouts came to pack them for shipment to Iraq in hopes to get them delivered for the holiday.
So disaster ended up a huge success, and multiple people connected, reacted and delivered for a happy ending!
The New England Eye Center, headquartered in Boston at Tufts Medical Center, has offices in Cambridge and Brighton where Mikula works, as well as several other locations including Wellesley, Leominster, and Brookline.