Local funeral home makes sure troops get packages

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Zechar Bailey Funeral Home Manager Greg Zechar said Pieces of Home has been a successful project since its inception. (Linda Moody photo)

GREENVILLE–For the past 16 years, Zechar Bailey Funeral Home and its “Little Pieces of Home” project has enabled local organizations and individuals to send gifts to troops serving overseas by paying the shipping fees for these gifts.

The funeral home sponsors the project, which includes furnishing the shipping containers, processing the paper work, and paying for the shipping.

John Wirrig also helps his co-workers at Zechar Bailey in getting packages mailed to the troops. (Courtesy photo)

Greg Zechar, manager of the funeral home, said the program could not be successful with what he called the tremendous support from the local citizens and many, many different groups, including churches, schools, sorority and fraternity groups, clubs, the Daughters of the American Revolution, Boy and Girl Scout troops, not to mention the support from the staff at the Greenville Post Office.

Zechar also has named those from both the Greenville funeral home as well as Zechar Bailey in Versailles.

The full-time staff at both funeral homes is comprised of John Wirrig, Hallie Foureman, Joelle York, Kent Zechar, Jeff Lyme, Dave Nixon, Roz Sever, Robert Prewitt and, newcomer, apprentice Nicole Berry.

“They have worked diligently to process the packages and keep them moving for a timely shipment,” Greg remarked.

This program had its beginnings in November 2007.

“It even started out really well,” he said of its success. “We have continued this program throughout the year. A lot of churches bring 10 or 12 boxes to us all year round. We are shipping every month, but we do see a significant increase of participation around the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and July Fourth.”

Hallie Foureman is all smiles as she handles some boxes of donations that will be going to U.S. troops in the upcoming days. (Courtesy photo)

This year, he said there have been 72 boxes already sent.

“We have military care package guidelines,” he said. “The biggest thing is we’re limited to small boxes.”

He went on to say, “For the first time this year, a Greenville Girl Scout troop sent 286 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.”

He said some of the items sent to troops are donated personal care items and indicated that the Girl Scouts put cards in their donations, thanking the veterans for their service.

Greg said Office Manager Jo York boxes up the items.

“She weighs it out and boxes it,” he said. “We have to weigh every item and document it.”

Who is responsible for getting these items to the post office?

“Whoever is available,” Greg replied.

Yes, this all began when Greg’s uncle Kent Zechar was manager of the funeral home. Greg’s father, Gary, had retired by that time. Then, Greg took over in 2018.

Not only is “Pieces of Home” a big project, but the funeral home is also involved in Wreaths Across America, paying for the wreaths for all veterans in Greenville Cemetery and now at the Versailles.

This is a three-generation operation, originally owned by twins Byron and Myron Zechar. Byron was Greg’s grandfather.