Minden woman sends ‘pieces of heaven’ off to Baghdad | NevadaAppeal.com

Minden woman sends ‘pieces of heaven’ off to Baghdad

by Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service
Shannon Litz/Appeal News Service Helen Taylor vacuum seals a batch of cookies to send to Iraq on Oct. 11.

MINDEN – In the war in Iraq, Helen Taylor is a one-woman USO.

Every week, the 72-year-old Minden woman whips up several batches of homemade cookies, fires up the vacuum sealer and packs a box of treats which she sends off to troops who’ve become dependent on “the cookie lady.”

Her labor of love started last December when she and her daughter and son-in-law decided to “adopt” her step-grandson’s unit in Baghdad.

She’s never met Army Capt. Glen Renfree, but Taylor has become “Grandma” to 115 men and women who work in the area.

“They did send me a nice picture and a card which many of them signed,” Taylor said. “They live in trailers and work in the abandoned palaces in Baghdad.”

Postage is about $20 a box for the packages, which are shipped to an APO. Delivery takes a week and with the vacuum sealer, the cookies are fresh, according to the men and women who make short work of them.

Her grandson has sent her several e-mails which reflect how much her touch of home is appreciated.

In an e-mail to Taylor’s daughter Teresa, Renfree said, “We just got two more boxes from your Mom (we call her the Cookie Lady now) and the cookies are on the countdown to being gone. I’ll give it until tomorrow.”

A few days later: “It was so funny because she gives us notes and tells us who contributes to the boxes. One of our soldiers felt bad, offering me money to send back.”

He told the soldier that Taylor would never accept money and she just wanted them to know how much her friends and neighbors appreciate what the troops are doing.

“Helen’s cookies are commonly known as ‘little pieces of heaven.'”

Renfree is leaving Iraq in the spring, but Taylor is committed to keeping the cookie convoy going.

Capt. Renfree said he intends to help support the effort when he gets back.

“She gives us something from her heart and we know that from the efforts put forth. Just the fact that all of the cookies are vacuum-packed to ensure they stay fresh (and they do) means so much to us and we couldn’t be thankful enough. “