Death In Iraq Spurs Student's Outreach
MARCH 29, 2007

Stonehill student Patrick McPhillips had just begun collecting personal items to send to a former high school classmate serving in Iraq when word reached him that the friend, John F. Landry Jr., had been killed on St. Patrick's Day in Baghdad.

Landry, 20, a private first class serving with the Second Battalion, 12th Calvary Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, had been an offensive lineman with McPhillips on the Lowell Catholic High School football team. His March 27 funeral in Lowell was front page news in The Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

With Landry in the Army and McPhillips at Stonehill, emails had flowed between the two. Now, stunned at his friend's death, McPhillips wondered what to do with the items he had begun collecting for Landry.

"Instead of scrapping the project," said McPhillips, 20, a business major, "I decided we should send (the items) to his unit instead. So I put a box outside my door here at the College, and other Stonehill students said, 'Put a box outside my door.'"

Students living with McPhillips at Pilgrim Heights filled one box with magazines they had finished reading and extra toiletries they had on hand. Soldiers appreciate everything, McPhillips said, especially snacks such as beef jerky and potato chips, cotton swabs to remove sand from their weapons, and baby wipes for times when they can't shower.

McPhillips arranged to have the parcels shipped to Iraq for free by Local Heroes Inc. of Wilmington, a non-profit organization that supports servicemen and women.

"I'm glad to help," said McPhillips. "It's a way to do something positive in memory of my friend John and to support the troops."

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