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WHMI & LACASA Team Up for Military Women

WHMI MORNING CREW: Mike Marino (left) and Jon King

MORNING CREW: Mike Marino (left) and Jon King in the WHMI 93.5-FM studio

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and WHMI’s Morning Crew and LACASA Center are teaming up to host a two-week “Wow Our Women” (WOW) collection drive for U.S. military women serving in Afghanistan.

The idea started when WHMI’s Mike & Jon in the Morning reached out to Staff Sergeant Kelly Simon, a former Howell resident, who serves as an Army Sexual Assault Victim Advocate at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. 

Mike Marino and Jon King contacted SSG Simon and asked how local residents could help make life a little easier for American women serving in the hot and dry conditions at Bagram.

Simon told the Morning Crew that she was planning to hold several sexual assault awareness activities on the base in April, and she needed gifts and prizes for her female troops. (See the Wish List suggestions below.)

web WOW infographicThe WHMI Morning Crew talked with LACASA Center about working together on the project and the WOW Collection Drive was born.

During the two-week campaign, local residents are invited to donate items that will provide a little luxury or a few laughs for American women serving in Afghanistan. 

SSG Simon is the daughter of Howell resident Renee Chodkowski, also known as The Great Foodini.

The WOW collection drive kicks off FridayMarch 21, during Chodkowski’s weekly Great Foodini food segment at 8:15 a.m. on WHMI’s Mike & Jon in the Morning Show.

“We would love to see Livingston County ‘wow’ our web WOW infographic caption 2dedicated troops with some terrific donations,” said Robin L. O’Grady, LACASA communications director.

“Life is not easy in this remote region, and small items are big luxuries for these women,” O’Grady said. “They wow us every day with their service. It would be nice to wow them with some fun surprises.”

LACASA Center will serve as the WOW collection point. Donated items may be dropped off weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 2895 W. Grand River Ave., Howell. (Just east of M-59, on south side.)

The WOW campaign concludes on Friday, April 4, at 4:30 p.m. WHMI’s Morning Crew will box up the donations and mail them in time for SSG Simon’s base-wide awareness activities.

Throughout April, Simon will join women and organizations around the world as they recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. LACASA will conduct its annual Clothesline Project at area libraries.

The Clothesline Project features T-shirts created by survivors of sexual assault or interpersonal violence to raise awareness about the impact of these crimes on the community.  

The list below offers an idea of what SSG Simon is seeking for gifts and prizes. Feel free to use your imagination and add anything you think would be especially appreciated. Wish List flyers are available at WHMI and LACASA Center.

No time to shop? WHMI and LACASA will have front-desk donation boxes available for individuals who wish to make cash contributions to help the cause. (WHMI is located at 1277 Parkway in Howell.)

You can catch the Morning Crew on 93.5-FM weekdays from 5 to 10 a.m. Visit the WHMI website to live-stream the show on your desktop, notebook or smartphone.   

Wish List                                            WHMI & LACASA Women in Military Drive

Personal Care & Scented Items

  • Body sprays
  • Scented candles
  • Non-aerosol air fresheners
  • Bug spray
  • Sunblock (Sweat-proof for face) 
  • Facial wipes (packaged individually)

Personal Space Decorations

  • Posters (fun or inspiring)
  • Small art prints & wall decor

 Food Items

  • Candy (non-meltable)
  • Snack packs (chips, cookies, crackers)
  • Jerky
  • Flavored powdered coffee creamers
  • Flavored coffee syrups


  • DVD Movies
  • Music CDs


  • Playing cards
  • Hand-held games
  • Dominoes
  • Puzzles or puzzle cubes
  • Tennis balls
  • Basketballs
  • Footballs
  • Soccer balls

Fun Dollar Store Items

  • Silly Putty
  • Goofy glasses
  • Fake mustaches
  • Funny hats
  • Amusing trinkets
  • Little stuffed animals
  • Small art supplies

Reading Materials

  • Paperback books
  • Current magazines (within 6 months)

Letter Writing Materials

  • Stationary
  • Envelopes  (stamps not needed)
  • Fun notepads or sticky notes 

 NOTE: Sexual Violence in the Military infographic (shown above) created by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

LACASA Staff Insight

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