She was just 14 years old when she got the idea for Tunes 4 the Troops, but a million CDs and DVDs later, Kaylee Marie Radzyminski celebrated her success with a final packing party at Tennessee Tech University.
Volunteers from across campus recently joined Radzyminski and Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mark Matejka to pack thousands of entertainment items — including the millionth one — bound for U.S. troops overseas.
The milestone is documented in an episode of CNN Heroes that is set to premiere nationally online and on the television news network today 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 tomorrow 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-airs are set for sometime during the hours of 9 a.m. and 2, 4 and 9 p.m. CST, with a late-night airing set for sometime in the hour of midnight Sunday. Finally, the episode is scheduled to be shown sometime during the hour of 6 p.m. CST Monday.
CNN officials point out that the airings are subject to the spontaneous demands of breaking news and can be bumped from the schedule without notice; however, the piece will be viewable on the main page of cnnheroes.com from the day of debut until the debut of the next CNN Hero the following week.
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) or you can give online at https://www.ttualumni.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=479.