Eat well, support troops at Mimi’s in PTC

Terry Garlock's picture

“Morning, Vern!” is heard over and over at Mimi’s Restaurant on Ga. Highway 54 in Peachtree City, as regulars roll in one at a time with the day just starting and chat with Suzy, Stephanie, Mimi and Vern when he takes a moment to turn away from the grill. But something more important than eggs and burgers is being cooked up at Mimi’s in November.

While too many Americans focus on themselves and pay little heed to the sacrifice of our U.S. service members, Vern Lynch and owner Mimi Gentilini are undertaking a project to send packages to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, part of a Georgia-based effort called Operation Sandbox.

Vern says the least we can do while our troops are deployed to a war zone, separated from their family again and again, is send them a few of the small things they miss, and let them know at the same time we care about them.

I’d say Vern and Mimi have their priorities in order, and I’d like to tell you how to help them get the job done right.

Donations are appreciated, and if you’d like to purchase the items yourself to donate, requested items are beef jerky, beanie weenies, gum, hard candy, peanuts, sunflower seeds, coffee, canned tuna, trail mix, baby wipes, drink mixes, razors, shaving gel, deodorant, snacks and food items that don’t melt or spoil – just a few small things we take for granted but are in short supply for our deployed men and women.

Vern has recruited other local businesses as collection points to make it convenient to drop off these items. In Peachtree City there is Gilroy’s Hardware on Ga. Highway 74 South, Ace Hardware on Hwy. 54 East, Peachtree Tan & Salon on Georgian Parkway and Discount Golf Shop on Crosstown Drive.

In Fayetteville, you may donate at Village Paint Store on Hwy. 54 East at Governor’s Square and Big Daddy’s bike shop on Hwy. 85 south of town. The Scooter Superstore on Hwy. 74 North in Fairburn is participating, as is Great South Harley Davidson on Hwy. 16 and Cycle City Power Sports on Millard Farmer Industrial Boulevard in Newnan.

You can help make life just a little easier for someone serving our country under trying conditions, and Vern has made it so convenient there is no excuse. You can even stop by Mimi’s to donate and as a bonus give some good-natured harassment to Vern and Mimi over breakfast or lunch.

Last week while reading my morning paper with coffee, I said to Vern, “Please cook my eggs a little more like you did yesterday!” It’s nice to eat at a place that feels like a friend’s house, where they care about the one-half of 1 percent of Americans carrying the burden in our wars, and have cared enough to do something about it through Operation Sandbox for several years.

Operation Sandbox started in 2004 as an effort by a Georgia church group and has ballooned into a tax-exempt 501c(3) non-profit as many ordinary people like you and me decided it was a good idea. They send packages to troops year round and so far have reached over 80,000 troops with small packages.

They are also sending microwaves, small refrigerators, coffee pots, toasters and 5-gallon containers to make it easier to wash clothes when resources are thin.

The Georgia legislature and U.S. Senators Isakson and Chambliss, and ordinary people I trust far more than politicians, have commended Operation Sandbox.

I appreciate people like Mimi and Vern, and also Cathy McMullen of Peachtree City, who works to support the kids of deployed troops through a group called Embracing Military Families.

The rest of us don’t do enough. I have long been troubled that most young Americans are living their entire youth with no requirement to serve their country, frequently developing an attitude that serving our country is the job of “someone else.”

It shouldn’t be that way. If it were up to me, every young man and woman would serve in some way. If it were up to me, fighting a war would involve the commitment of every American for the duration, and if they are not committed, we bring our troops home.

But it isn’t up to me, and the few serving in our military risk their lives doing America’s dirty work while we focus on daily trials like slow traffic in our commute.

We should do more. It takes so little from us to gather some of these items and deliver to Mimi and Vern, or to simply open our wallet. Do whatever you believe is the right thing to do, and don’t be bashful about telling Vern how you like your eggs.

[Terry Garlock lives in Peachtree City. His email is]

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Submitted by Elfie on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 1:30pm.

Support for Lt. Daniel Berschinski

As you may know, Dan Berschinski, Eagle Scout from Peachtree City Troop 175, McIntosh High School graduate of 2002, and West Point grad of 2007 was very severely wounded in Afghanistan in August. Quoting from a report:
“Daniel Berschinski, First Lieutenant and Platoon Leader in the First Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment Fifth Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in the U.S. Army, was seriously wounded August 17, 2009, while serving our country in Afghanistan. Daniel stepped on an IED while checking on his troops and lost both of his legs. Lt. Berschinski is currently recuperating from numerous injuries at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington , D.C.
The Berschinski family has lived in Peachtree City for 17 years. … His parents, Bob and Susan, are local business owners. Many of you may remember Susan as a Booth Middle School teacher.”
We can show our support for Lt. Dan by showing up at the Starr’s Mill Chick-fil-A (Hwy 74S by Publix and Holly Road) this Thursday, November 5, from 5-7 p.m.
I’m hoping for a HUGE turnout to impress his mother with community support. Susan Berschinski will be there, and wouldn’t it be right to flood her with expressions of appreciation for Dan and family? As they often do for special causes, Chick-fil-A will donate 10% of sales to a fund, this time for Daniel. Also, any additional financial support we might like to offer will be accepted.
I have been following reports of Daniel’s determined struggles with surgeries, infections, set-backs and difficult therapies. By all reports he has been upbeat, positive and brave. Even though his survival is no longer in question and his skin grafts are healing and his jaw is no longer wired shut, his challenges are far from over. Daniel deserves our support.
If you would like to read more, you can go to
A reporter named Hal Berton from the Seattle Times is currently embedded with and reporting on Dan's company (Bravo Company, 1-17 Infantry Battalion) in the Arghandab River valley. This article references Dan about halfway through and notes that two of the company's platoons are operating at 80% and 60% strength, respectively, due to deaths and injuries. All of the articles from the series can be read here:
I hope you can make it to Chick-fil-A for Dan. Please help spread the word.

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