Niskayuna

Mystery, drama, adventure: Rexford teen collects books for troops

'Sending books to the troops would be in a way paying back to them for all the help they’ve given to our country.'
Addison Evanoff of Rexford, a sophomore at Niskayuna High School, sits near stacks of books she has collected for U.S. troops.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Addison Evanoff of Rexford, a sophomore at Niskayuna High School, sits near stacks of books she has collected for U.S. troops.

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

Chapters on adventure, drama, mystery — maybe even a little romance — are heading to U.S. military bases, hospitals and ports of call.

The commanding officer of this operation is Addison Evanoff of Rexford.

Evanoff, a sophomore at Niskayuna High School, has collected more than 600 paperback books, compact music discs and DVDs that will soon be donated to Books for Troops.

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The non-profit organization began in southern Saratoga County in 2010 by retired school teacher Ellen Keegan, who wanted to gather books to send to soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. The project has been designed to remind troops far from home that their service and sacrifice is appreciated.

“I’ve always liked reading and I know that’s a universal thing, so when I read about the Books for Troops program in the paper, I was immediately interested in that,” said the 15-year-old Evanoff.

“I wanted a volunteer project to do that would make a difference for a variety of people,” she added. “Sending books to the troops would be in a way paying back to them for all the help they’ve given to our country.”

Evanoff collected her pages and plastic during February and March. Family and friends donated items they had already read, viewed or heard; more donations came from her church parish, Immaculate Conception in Glenville.

Paperbacks are requested by the book group. They’re easier to transport, and easier to carry for enlisted men and women and officers.

Evanoff organized and packed her donations. Right now, the 10-box shipment has been stalled due to COVID-19 concerns. Nothing can be delivered to Books for Troops until their offices re-open.

The experience remains a best seller for Evanoff.

“I was really surprised with the outcome, it was so generous of all those people to donate to the program,” she said. “I think it’s a really great thing that everyone came together like that.”

Evanoff enjoyed the collection experience so much that she is planning another media drive for next winter.

“It was really fun this year getting everything together,” she said.

Books for Troops currently sends materials to Japan, Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, South Africa, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere troops are deployed. They are also sent to troops on U.S. bases and in 31 VA Hospitals across the nation.

Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-641-8400 or at [email protected].

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