January-February 2019 | HANDLED WITH CARE




The Shore Pride All Stars send care packages to a deployed military squadron

Written By: Alison Clary | Photographer: TODD DUDEK

While many families were spending the Sunday after Thanksgiving relaxing at home, the Shore Pride All Stars were hard at work, putting together care packages to send to a deployed military squadron with a special connection to the talented cheerleading team.

Fifteen-year-old Becca Kelly has been a dedicated Shore Pride All Star for five years. The Kelly family patriarch, Robert Kelly, is a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and has served in the military for 32 years. On September 5, 2018, Sergeant Kelly was deployed to the United Arab Emirates. 

“It’s always hard for our family when Robert is deployed, but this current deployment has been extra tough, since we received word that his squadron doesn’t have the accommodations they typically do when deployed abroad,” said Robert’s wife, Debbie Kelly.

Upon learning of Sergeant Kelly’s squadron’s situation, the team immediately began collecting items such as toiletries, snacks and personal letters to send over before the holidays. 

“We wanted to remind them that we are thinking about them every day,” said cheerleader Colby Bennett, 15. 

The team also included members of the Shore community in the process. Alisha White, a youth group leader at Dagsboro Church of Christ and mother of team member Taylor White encouraged her youth group to either say a prayer for Mr. Kelly and his fellow servicemen or write a letter to include in the care packages. She was thrilled by their reception and enthusiasm.

“My father and grandfather both served in the military, so I recognize the sacrifice the Kelly family has made. It’s like cancer, in that you don’t know how hard it is until it affects someone close to you,” said Alisha.

The Shore Pride All Stars initially planned to send personalized care packages to each of the squadron’s 40 servicemen and servicewomen. But after pulling together all the donations, the group was delighted to discover they had collected enough to fill 47 packages. They also assembled treat-filled packages for each of the squadron’s four K-9s.

“Robert is scheduled to return home on June 5th, but we’re never certain if the return date will change due to unforeseen circumstances” said Kelly’s mother, Carol Kelly. “The team’s support means a lot to us as we await the unknown.” 

The Shore Pride All Stars plan to continue supporting the community and the Kelly family in the future.

“We emphasize the importance of philanthropy to our girls,” said Anne Oglesby, a member of the team’s Parent Pride organization and mother of team member Georgia Oglesby, 14. “This is why we organize events such as these, so the team can participate throughout the year.”

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