Cold Treats for Troops
Smoothie King Franchisee Ships Smoothies to Husband, Unit Overseas
May 30, 2007
By Chad Wellinger
Ninety-five refreshing fruit smoothies were expected to reach 95 thirsty members of the Ohio Army National Guard Troop C 2-107th Armored Calvary Regiment stationed in Balad, Iraq on Memorial Day.
The smoothies were mixed, packed and shipped via U.S. mail by Gahanna Smoothie King franchisee owner Laura Shepherd. Shepherd's husband of 12 years, Sgt. Maj. Steve Shepherd, is a member of the regiment.
"I send him a package a week with some unique things that remind him of home," Shepherd said, "and it occurred to me, why not send some smoothie from our store, which I opened after he was deployed?"
The store opened in October.
Two different smoothie flavors were sent to Iraq - "Strawberry Extreme," made with fresh strawberries, and "Caribbean Way," made with strawberries, bananas and papaya.
"Caribbean Way is my husband's favorite so we had to send that one," Shepherd said, "and we thought the two different flavors would give the guys a good little variety."
She said a lot of research was needed to determine how to get a meltable treat all the way across the world.
"I needed to find out how long they would last," Shepherd said.
The smoothies were sent in containers with secure lids, surrounded by lots of dry ice and ice packs.
"I mailed my husband the cups, lids, straws a week ago with a letter," Shepherd said. "I wrote, 'Keep these in a secure place, hopefully you'll have smoothies to fill them with on the way."
Shepherd credits the UPS store on Johnstown Road in Gahanna with helping her accomplish the daunting feat.
"They found out all the requirements, and they were actually the ones who packed it up for me," she said.
Shepherd said she hopes the soldiers know how much people appreciate their sacrifices.
"I just want them to know that they deserve for us to go out of our way to give them that special attention," she said.
"Bottom line, it doesn't matter what your opinion of the war is. The soldiers are there and they need to know we love them all, and hopefully they'll think, "Wow, what great-tasting smoothie.' "
Shepherd's Smoothie King store is located at 1350 N. Hamilton Road. It is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.