Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vietnam veteran scoured garage sales to help soldiers

Frank Coyne Jr., 69: Vietnam veteran scoured garage sales to help soldiers
Atlanta Journal Constitution
By Mark Woolsey
December 15, 2012

To many, a dusty game of Monopoly offered at a garage sale might look like a throwaway, something that had outlived its usefulness. But to Frank Coyne, it was a way to connect to and support our troops.

Coyne was an avid garage sale devotee with a twist. For years, he spent weekends on the hunt for supplies for Project Mail Call, a support-the-troops effort operated by his church, Mount Bethel United Methodist, said longtime friend and fellow church member Ed Ettel. Coyne and his wife, Deborah, would scour local garage sales for sports equipment, board games, movies on DVDs, sheets, towels, pillows, blankets and other supplies.

Then, they’d carefully pack up the gifts and include a personal note of support for the soldiers in harm’s way. Many times, a sincere thank-you note would arrive days or weeks later from overseas.

“Being a veteran himself, he understood what it means when you’re overseas and you receive a letter from someone, much less a care box from someone you don’t know,” said Ettel. “Mail call is a very precious time, he knew. When you’re sitting there with nothing much to do and it’s announced, everybody perks up.”

Frank Coyne Jr., 69, of Marietta died Dec. 7 from complications of heart surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. A memorial service was held Friday at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta.

Coyne grew up in Buckhead and graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in 1966. He learned the value of mail from home during a stint in Vietnam, where he became a captain in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army and was awarded a Bronze Star.
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