The following is a story that the New Hampshire Union Leader ran in today’s edition on page B2. Unfortunately it does not appear to be listed in the online edition so I am typing the text into this post.
On the front page top right corner is the teaser in big red letters: Merrimack Marine
From page B2 article that includes a photo of Janni:
Merrimack Mail Call reached first Marine from town
- Janni DuPont: The young man is grateful to those who have sent letters, his father says.
A 20 year-old serving in Iraq is the first Marine from town to receive letters from residents participating in the newly-formed Merrimack Mail Call program, according to lead organizer Dave McCray.
Janni DuPont, a 2007 Merrimack High School graduate, is a “gregarious hard working guy” serving at least a six month tour in the middle East, his father, Chet DuPont, said in an interview yesterday. Janni is a member of Golf Company, 4th Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
Through Merrimack Mail Call, volunteers send letters and care packages to military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. DuPont who has been in Iraq for about three weeks, has received several letter, his father said.
Chet DuPont said that he read about the mail program in the New Hampshire Union Leader and “ever since I’ve been trying to drum up support for him.”
“They’ve adopted us much more than anything else” he said of the volunteers. “There is even a Boy Scout group in Merrimack that is going to be supporting Janni with care packages and writing to him as well” so it’s a great effort indeed by these folks.”
Chet DuPont, who also has a 21-year-old son, Christian DuPont, an Army Medic stationed in Texas, said just knowing there is a program inplace for the troops to boost their spirits makes it a worthwhile cause.
“I’ve been a supporter of the military myself, but until you actually see what these kids go through and what they give up in order to serve the country, I don’t think that you can have a true appreciation of it,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that these kids need to know that they are supported, and not just by their parents and their close family.
“Just knowing that your citizens care about what you do and for what they sacrifice is a great morale builder for them, and I know that personally because both my sons have expressed that to me,” said DuPont. “They love getting mail- even if it’s from complete strangers- and i’s amazing how much that boosts their morale.”
Jnni, who was adopted by Chet and Debbie DuPont from Romania when he was 3, had all but made up his mind by the time he was 10 that he was going to join the military, said his father. “As soon as he left high school, he signed up and went down to PArris Island and Camp Pendleton in California for training, and he’s loved every minute of it,” he said. It’s all he’s really ever wanted to do.”
Chet DuPont, a self-proclained history buff, said today’s wars are much different from those in the past, and he’s received a few messages vis Facebook from Janni with updates from overseas.
“It;’s great to see there are those types of opportunities for them when they are on a larger base,” he said. “He’s also managed to make two phone calls- from tents they’ve set up- home about 3 a.m. because of the time difference.
“You’d have to stand in line for an hour and a half to get an opportunity for about 30 minutes of phone time, so you take the calls when you can, and it’s just good to hear his voice,” said DuPont.
In the limited time JAnni DuPont has been stationed in Iraq, he has gotten acclimated to his surroundings and the poverty that exists in Iraq.
“From what he’s told me, the kids jump all over you and grab pens or anything else they’re given by the troops because they are so poor, but [the soldiers have] been treated well by the people living there,” Chet DuPont said.
There is one thing Janni DuPont hasn’t enjoyed: the cooler temperatures.
“He hates being cold,” Chet said. “At times, the temperature has dropped to about 15 degrees (Farenheit), and it’s a tough thing to get used to.”
But is anyone can make an adjustment to an unfamiliar place, it’s Janni. As a by, he arrived in the United States not understanding or speaking English, but “he adapted pretty well and has the ability to roll wioth the punches,” his father said.
Although Debbie DuPont has had a little more difficulty having her son stationed overseas, Chet DuPont says he puts Janni’s “safety in the hands of God” and also “the hundreds of brothers he has looking after him, which is an encouraging thought.”
It’s unfortunate that he won’t be here to see his sister, (Nicole DuPont) get married in May, but I’m just so proud of both of my boys and what they are doing right now,” he said.
To see how Janni DuPont is doing in Iraq, visit Chet DuPont’s web blog at
Letters and care packages can also be sent to him at:
LCpl DuPont, Janos
2D BN 1ST MAR
Golf CO 4th Platoon
FPO AP 96426-0185