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Shell Museum helps ASC cause with large donation

By Staff | Jun 1, 2011

The apple, left, and lace murex shells, photographed by Dr. Jose H. Leal.

It’s hard to imagine that something so small in some people’s eyes can have such a tremendous meaning to others.

Last week, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum forwarded more than 400 apple and lace murex snails to Daryl Mackin, founder and president of A Soldier’s Child Birthday Foundation (ASC).

The inspiration for A Soldier’s Child Birthday Foundation came while Mackin was preparing for his own 6-year-old son’s surprise birthday party. Realizing that so many children of fallen military veterans will never receive another birthday present from their fathers or mothers, who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, he came up with the idea for the foundation.

“As citizens of the United States of America, we are forever indebted to the men and women who so unselfishly protect our freedoms,” said Mackin. “It is our objective to communicate through A Soldiers Child to the children left behind that the memory of their parent will not fade away. We want them to know that there are many Americans that are forever grateful for their parent’s sacrifice.”

Each year until their 19th birthday, children of deceased veterans will receive a scroll, sealed with a crown of purple wax. The words of the scroll speak of the honor of the soldier and child, the indebtedness of a nation whose freedoms hinge on the service of that parent. The words explain the meaning of the purple wrapping paper and gold tissue, reminding the children that their parent left a legacy of royalty.

Earlier this year, Mackin visited Sanibel — as he and his family, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., have done for several years — notifying local shell shops, media outlets and the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum of his ongoing efforts dedicated to ASC. His story touched many islanders, including Dr. Jose H. Leal, director/curator for the museum.

“I believe that A Soldier’s Child Birthday Foundation is a very worthy cause, providing support to children who lost a parent serving on active duty in the military,” said Dr. Leal. “When foundation president Daryl Mackin approached us with his request for shells, I immediately started recruiting Shell Museum donors needed to fill the request.”

In addition to the scroll, the birthday package includes a tagged Imperial Purple Spiny Dye Murex to serve as a reminder of their father or mother’s legacy. If the child ever loses that shell, it will be replaced. Because the shells are hard to find, ASC is always looking for people who wish to donate theirs to the effort.

“We sent shells both from the museum’s educational collection and shells donated by Amy Tripp, from Marco Island,” added Dr. Leal. “The museum embraced the cause and will be sending more shells in the near future.”

For additional information, visit www.asoldierschild.org.