Grandfather inspires teen to collect items for troops


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NORTH BRUNSWICK – Inspired by her Vietnam War veteran grandfather, a young girl is trying to change the lives of military personnel around the world.

Chloe Rossmann read an announcement in her grandmother Sheral’s “Woman’s World” magazine about a call for supplies for troops. To honor her grandfather Harry, she decided to hold two collections thus far, with more on the way.

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In September, she collected 500 protein bars and 50 tuna foil packets with the help of North Brunswick residents.

In November, she collected 176 lip balms, 82 packs of dental floss, 1,610 dental floss sticks, 18 toothbrushes and 100 small body lotions. Rolling Thunder donated 50 flags with a prayer to add to the shipment.

She and her family shipped the items to Military Connections in Pittsburgh, which then disperses the items to those in need.

“I just want to see them smile,” Chloe said

The North Brunswick Township High School junior said she always “appreciated” and “flaunted” the fact that her father was in the U.S. Navy and that her grandfather served during Vietnam.

“I know how much they all do for us,” she said. “It means a lot to me.”

Many family and friends dropped off donations at the office of mayoral assistant Janice Larkin, according to Sheral Rossmann. Michael Campbell and Ryan Uzunis of the North Brunswick Police Department also made donations on their own.

Chloe said she also was inspired by a project in her freshman physics class, led by teacher Bob Goldman, during which students would write to the troops during downtime. She said three Air Force and one Marine representatives came to the school to thank the students for their letters.

“Talking to and meeting people in the service is so fascinating and it never fails to make me smile,” she wrote in one letter. “I think [they] are so physically and mentally strong. [They] never give up, and that pushes me to keep fighting every single day.”

Also, teacher Donald Smutko invites Harry Rossmann to speak to his students during the Vietnam lessons.

“To have her so interested and so deeply concerned with their well-being – she understands the sacrifices they’re making – that’s dear to my heart,” Harry Rossmann said.

Because of her efforts, recently retired Principal Pete Clark nominated Chloe as a Kid Who Makes Magic for Magic 98.3 FM. While attending the banquet on Nov. 15, she said she received a corsage, a trophy and a special dinner.

“I was really shocked,” she said. “They treated me like a princess.”

She was honored to have been chosen along with 11 other students in central New Jersey for the award.

“There are a lot of kids who do a lot of things like that, but I felt it was really special [Clark] picked me, she said.

Clark said the nomination was one of his last acts before retirement.

“I was very proud … to attend the ceremony with one of our students receiving this wonderful award,” he said.

Humble about her efforts, Chloe said other students can make an impact just as she has.

“I don’t think kids realize they really could do something by doing something little,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to inspire people, so it felt nice I could do it in that way.”

The Rossmanns plan to announce their next donation drive after the holidays. Based on the needs of Military Connections, the items could include energy drinks, beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, canned fruit with pop off lids, cereal, trail mix, cookies, Pop-Tarts, laundry pods, postage stamps, Skittles, gum, non-gel deodorant, K-cups and/or ground coffee.

Donations for shipping costs, which cost around $50 per box, will also be accepted.

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