Physician’s Army daughter pens long-distance thank-you letter

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Marcrum’s care packages earn spot in Cigar Aficionado


TELL CITY – Care packages Dr. William Marcrum sends to troops stationed in some of the most dangerous places in the world have endeared him to soldiers he may never meet. But the Tell City physician’s good deeds came to the attention of readers of a national magazine, thanks to a letter from his daughter.

First Lt. Katherine Vessels, currently serving with the U.S. Army in Sharana, Afghanistan, had a letter published in Cigar Aficionado, a magazine catering to cigar lovers. In a letter to the editor, Vessels lauds her father for the care packages he sends to her. The contents usually include cigars.

“When I was deployed to Afghanistan in January, he asked if there were any special requests I had for care packages. Most of the soldiers in my unit are smokers (I am not), and Cubans (cigars) can be purchased in Afghanistan, so most of them took to smoking some cheap Cubans that (thanks to my dad’s training) I could tell were not of high quality,” Vessels wrote in her letter, published in the latest edition.

Vessels suggested her dad include a few cigars with the candy, magazines and other items he sends each month.

“Ever since I made that request, each month my dad has sent hundreds of dollars of cigars to not only my soldiers, but also other soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq,” she wrote. The packages from home, she wrote, “have earned him multiple certificates of recognition from various echelons of command and one unit even had a flag raised over Bagram in his honor on the Fourth of July.”

That flag is on proud display in a hallway near where Marcrum sees patients in Tell City. Proud of his daughter and the work she is doing, Marcrum said the gifts to soldiers who work hard every day are a small token of appreciation, but one he knows they enjoy.

“I love a good cigar and sharing that with our soldiers is something I can do to make their lives over there a little better,” he said.

Marcrum suspected something about him might appear in the magazine after Katherine and others asked him if he had received the September-October edition.

Others in the area who are among the publication’s readership called him.

Marcrum’s issue arrived the next day. He plans to frame the letter.