From the Pilot News April 19, 2019
Fundraising and “friend-raising” was the purpose of an event held on Thursday April 11, 2019. The eighth annual dinner and auction to “Celebrate & Support Our Troops” was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Plymouth, IN. All proceeds benefited Operation: Quiet Comfort. Those attending enjoyed a delicious pork dinner and a chance to bid on silent and live auction items. It was a fun evening for a great cause. Along with honoring our active duty military and all veterans, each year Ken Houin highlights a local military person. Past honorees included, Lester Read, who served in the Marines and was at Iwo Jima at the raising of the flag; Lida Thompson Norris, who served three years in England as a WAC during WWII; John Davis who landed on Omaha Beach on D Day; and Jim DeWitt who was at Pearl Harbor on “the day that will live in infamy”. Also Master Chief Terry Houin who served as a Navy Seal, and Jim Ewen of Rochester, IN who was a Marine pilot in Vietnam.This year Ken shared the story of a local family that has a deep history in Marshall County’s military readiness. It started in Williford, Arkansas in 1947 when Mr. Neal Hostetler married his sweetheart Miss Roberta Kizer, after which they set up their life long residency in the Plymouth area. Roberta worked as a waitress and a cook while Neal took employment with Farm Bureau Co-op and Franger Gas Co. In 1955 Neal joined the Indiana National Guard in Plymouth where he served for 11 years. In 1966 when the Indiana National Guard went Airborne Neal decided he didn’t want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and resigned for a 3 year period. Then in 1969 Neal was asked to return at this previous rank of E7 to be a platoon sergeant once again. In 1972 the Plymouth Armory unit became full time and Neal was given the position of Supply Sergeant.
Not one to sit a home Roberta Hostetler, whose father served as a Seabee in WWII, joined the Civil Air Patrol where she excelled and was given honorary membership in the Army Air Force by General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Hostetler’s have seven children. Their six boys all served at the Plymouth National Guard along with Sgt. Hostetler at the same time. The younger Hostetlers all had the same MOS of cook or food specialists. At the event, along with Neal and Roberta, was their son Jeff and his wife Kathy Hostetler, along with two of their three sons that serve in the Military. Jeff’s oldest son Bob served 13 years in the Army and now resides in Plymouth, IN with his wife Alisa and their two children. Jeff’s middle son, Ensign Ben Hostetler, is currently stationed with the Navy Information Operations Center Georgia in Dayton, Ohio. Ben and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children live in Indianapolis, IN. Jeff’s third son, Sgt. Bo Hostetler, is now serving with the United States Army in New York State. Neal and Roberta also have one great grandson currently serving his sixth year in the United States Navy. Collectively this Hostetler family has served our country’s military for nearly 130 years.
Jan Houin, Board Member and Shipping Coordinator for OQC, shared the history of Operation: Quiet Comfort which was established in Michigan in July 2004 for the purpose of honoring and comforting members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are injured while serving in harm’s way, and to provide support to the medical staff who care for them. This is done mainly by sending 30 to 50 large care packages each month to military medical units overseas. Purchasing and shipping costs average over $3000 per month. Jan stated that in 2018 the organization shipped approximately 416 boxes with a total weight of 8560 pounds. The postage cost for the year was approximately $15,022.00. Jan says they will continue to ship care packages as long as there is a need. Currently they are supporting approximately 15 units in the following countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, South Korea, Poland, Djibouti, and ships near Cuba and Bahrain. Sometimes they simply ship to an APO address and are not allowed to know exactly where the packages go.
Jan reminded everyone that OQC is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization staffed entirely by volunteers across the United States and funded solely through donations. Since 2010 most purchasing and all packing and shipping take place in Plymouth, IN with the help of many volunteers. The Houins host a packing night on the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 -8:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to volunteer their services; from lifting heavy boxes to sit down jobs, there is something for everyone.
Everything for this event was donated, including the food, so every dime collected will be used for purchasing and shipping comfort items to our troops, showing them that a grateful nation truly cares. Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who donated in any way.
There are multiple opportunities to assist with this organization by donating your time, talent or resources. If you or anyone you know would like more information about Operation: Quiet Comfort go to www.operationquietcomfort.org or contact Ken or Jan Houin at 574-936-1424 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member and Shipping Coordinator for Operation: Quiet Comfort