THOMASBORO — Ruby Splittstoesser needs a display case.
She could use one for all of the tokens of appreciation she has received for her efforts on behalf of U.S. troops.
Perhaps she could place the display case at Heartland Dry Cleaners, Thomasboro, which she operates with her husband, Dan.
Or maybe she would prefer one at home.
The items she has been given are recognition for her efforts to send care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas.
As of last week she had sent more than 3,300 of the packages.
Splittstoesser had some of the items displayed on a wall at work, but East Central Illinois' strong winds took care of that. A windy blast blew them off the wall when a customer opened the door to the shop.
So, Splittstoesser has been keeping them atop a cabinet for now.
The pile just got a little higher.
She said her latest token of appreciation might be her favorite. This month she received a U.S. flag that was flown over Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait Jordan, Qatar and the Arabian Gulf.
The flag was accompanied by a plaque.
The flag was flown in a USAF C-130H airplane during combat and combat support missions. It was presented by the crew of CROME 96 from the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
"I think this is probably the best award I've ever gotten," Splittstoesser said.
"The men on the mission told me that it was from the guys who are flying on the plane, six of them, that it was the greatest honor they could give a civilian."
She received the items in the mail Jan. 7.
Other items that Splittstoesser has received include a medallion and flag from President George W. Bush, a plaque from troops serving in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom 2008-09 and a plaque from the village of Thomasboro, plus recognition from the state of Illinois in recognition of her being named Citizen of the Year in Thomasboro.
She has also received recognition from the Wisconsin National Guard, Calico Co., which their daughter is a part of while deployed in Afghanistan, a plaque from the National Guard and one from the 95th Illinois General Assembly.
Splittstoesser said she couldn't do the work of collecting and mailing care packages without the help of many individuals and local organizations.
She is always looking for more troops to send care packages to. Contact her with the names of the troops at 217-643-7522.