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Rochelle letter carrier spurs massive donation for friend, Army Sergeant in Africa

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Inspirng 815 Peter Blassage

ROCHELLE (WREX) — Peter Blassage enjoys his route everyday.

Weaving through the subdivisions of Rochelle as a USPS letter carrier.

It's a path he's walked for the better close to three decades now after his first career ended.

That job just so happened to be as a member of the U.S. Marines.

"I served many moons ago. Got out in 1992," Blassage said.

Blassage was stationed in Pohang, South Korea in the late 1980's before coming back stateside and near his hometown of Rockford.

Though he isn't in the service anymore, he has a deep rooted appreciation for all the men and women fighting for our country right now and the sacrificing they are making along with it.

"Being a Marine veteran and doing three tours overseas, I know a little bit myself what it's like to be away from home during the holiday season and missing family," Blassage said.

There's one person Blassage feels a particular connection to.

Army Sergeant and Rochelle native Tommy Sprowls.

The two men have known each other for 15 years with Blassage working with Sprowls' mom.

Tommy is currently stationed in Africa with a team of Army Rangers and won't be back home until April.

It made Blassage want to do something for his friend to help get him through the rest of his tour.

A simple gesture really.

A little care package.

However, Blassage had an idea that made it not so little anymore.

"I thought maybe I'll get my fellow employees invovled and maybe we could get something a little bit bigger," Blassage said.

Bigger doesn't begin to cover it.

Thanks to the generosity of the Rochelle community, Blassage collected over 250 pounds of goods to send over to Tommy and his team.

From snacks life beef jerky and candy to packs of baby wipes.

"It's way bigger than I wanted it to be but at the same time it's nice because instead of just touching Tommy, we're going to be able to touch a lot of military service men and women that are over there right now," Blassage said.

The donation is incredible, but it doesn't need to stop here.

Blassage encourages anybody to find a way to give back to those fighting overseas.

It can be as simple as writing them a letter.

No name, no personal address.

Just a thank you for all of their efforts.

If you know someobody or a family memeber knows somebody and you have ten extra minutes write a thank you card to them. Get the address and mail it to them," Blassage said.

"They're not going to know who you are but trust me it means a lot to them when they get something like that moreso from somebody they don't even know who's thanking them and taking the time to do something like that."

The desire to help a friend led to a massive thank you to our troops.

So often the small ideas grow into a large impact in our community.

We need your help to find the people making a difference in the 815.

If you know someone helping our home be a better place, you can fill out a form here or reach out to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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