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Woman collects 'Books for the Troops'

Books have their own special shelf in Ellen Keegan's heart.

I've been through a really bad health situation where I wasn't able to leave the house and couldn't have company. The thing that got me through was books. They were a form of escape I couldn't imagine life without books, said Keegan.

The retired teacher from Clifton Park was volunteering for Operation Adopt a Soldier to fill her time, and after a few meetings to assemble care packages, she decided to take an ambitious leap and created Books for Troops.

"We were sending a lot of other necessities but what really bothered me was that books weren't being sent and they were on the list of things [soldiers overseas] wanted," said Keegan.

As long as she could raise her own money and gather books herself, Books for Troops got the green-light from OAS. That was three months ago, and already Keegan has sent out 200 boxes of books, with about 75 more sitting in her garage, waiting to be mailed. What stands in the way, is postage.

"We're getting a ton of books; however, donations aren't coming in very well right now, so I can't send out the other boxes because I don't have money for postage," said Keegan.

All funds raised go toward postage, which is $12.50 for a box that fits between 15 and 18 books, sometimes with paper and pencils nestled in between. Aside from friends and family, Keegan said her main source of monetary donations have come from a local hamburger stand off Exit 8 in Clifton Park.

"I gave the owner of Country Drive a colletion bottle and she's raised, by herself, more than $900 in coins. I hand her an empty bottle every week, and she hands me a collection of coins," said Keegan. "To her it's nothing but to me it's everything. She's made possible something like 70 boxes."

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