Thursday, April 14, 2011

CNN Features Tech Student 'Hero'

Kaylee Marie Radzyminski (far right)
is joined by TTU vice presidents Marc Burnett
and Susan Elkins (far left), along with fellow TTU students
  CNN was there to document the moment as volunteers from across the campus of Tennessee Tech University joined Kaylee Radzyminski to pack thousands of entertainment items — including the millionth one — bound for U.S. troops overseas. That milestone is documented in an episode of program CNN Heroes that premiered nationally online and on the television news network Thursday and will re-air periodically through Monday.

“Everyone loves entertainment, but we can just turn on a radio or TV. They can’t, especially the troops in the mountain areas; they barely have email access. I had to do it,” Radzyminski said.

Re-airings of the CNN Heroes episode featuring Radzyminski’s update are set for Friday sometime during the hours beginning at 7 and 10 a.m. and 1 and 10 p.m. Central Standard Time, with a late-night re-air set for sometime in the hour of 1 a.m. Saturday. Other Saturday re-airings are set for sometime during the hours of 9 a.m. and 2, 4 and 9 p.m.

When she originally got the idea for Tunes 4 the Troops, Radzyminski said she was at a summer training with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and met some Marines just back from Iraq. When she asked them what was hardest about being gone, they told her missing family and missing entertainment. Although the idea was entirely hers, Radzyminski credits her success to the help of many.  More than 60 volunteers spent last Saturday in TTU’s Roaden University Center packing CDs and DVDs into boxes for shipping, and one volunteer — Jennifer Dyer, a senior accounting major at TTU and a University Academic Scholar — helped Radzyminski coordinate the entire event.

“She was there all day Saturday, supervised every station during the packing party as well as the unloading of boxes,” Radzyminski said. “She also spent five hours with me taking stuff to the post office today.”
Other volunteers included a journalism class, a service-learning class, TTU athletes, ROTC cadets, some Cookeville High School students, Chartwells Catering Service, a student business organization, Alpha Delta Pi sorority members and many others. Radzyminski said she also appreciated the service of postal workers Neta Crosswhite and Cher Daly.

Michelle Huddleston, coordinator of the TTU University Service Center, said, “We are certainly still raising funds for this final shipment. Individuals, companies, families, church groups and student organizations can sponsor a box.”

For $15, one box — containing 125 items — can be sent overseas, she said. Donations can be sent to TTU Box 5115: School of Interdisciplinary Studies Fund for Excellence (service project Tunes 4 the Troops in the memo line of checks).