Grainger Today Correspondent
BLAINE – Grainger County’s native son, Jacob Wiser, and his Marine Corps comrades celebrated Christmas 2016 feasting on roast lamb in the Jordanian desert.
His unit of military security advisers was in the middle of a six-month deployment.
“The locals are Muslims, and they prepared the lambs. They really like us and appreciate that we are able to help them,” Wiser said.
“We gave them some of the gifts Darla (Daniel) sent us,” Wiser said.
They also shared the bounty with Jordanian troops and military units from other nations.
The goodies were the result of a project launched by Daniel, a Rutledge hairdresser. She said she read a post from Wiser’s mother on Facebook asking for help in supplying items they needed to make life easier in the desert.
“It really pulled at my heartstrings, and I had to do something. As a mother, I would appreciate someone helping my son. I hoped I could get together one box to send,” Daniel said.
She enlisted the aid of friends, neighbors and clients at Tangles Salon. When all was said and done, she shipped 26 boxes.
Items included lotion, Chap Stick, deodorant, eye drops, playing cards, toothpaste and toothbrushes. She also asked teachers in Grainger County schools to ask their students to write letters to the troops
Wiser said perhaps the most appreciated items were the hand warmers they received. While it is very warm during the day in the desert, it can be frigid at night, he said.
Wiser and Daniel had actually known each other for years. As a child, he attended the same church she did. And Daniel once went on a mission trip to Malaysia with his father.
Wiser spent six months, from October 2016 to April of this year, with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He is a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, and his unit is based in Johnson City. He said they have been informed they will probably be deployed again in March or April, so he is eagerly anticipating Christmas at home this year.
“I’m going to spend it with my family,” he said.
His parents are Tony and Deanna Wiser.