INDUSTRY — When Nathan Geisser heads for Afghanistan later this year to perform special reconnaissance missions, his parents Rob and Christine Geisser want him and the rest of his Marine unit “to have the best equipment they can have.”

A former Marine who served nine years including experience in the Gulf War, Rob knows the Marines will give the best of what they have at the time but it doesn’t always work out.

Nathan’s unit, the 3rd Recon Marines, a special operations unit, seeks out information about enemy positions and places. Sometimes they’ll be issuing orders for something 200-yards in front of them, Rob said.

Unit members are issued seven rifle magazines, which hold 30 bullets each. But they can carry up to 13 magazines. When the unit goes out on missions for days at a time, “what they have with them is what they have unless a helicopter can drop extra supplies,” Rob said.

“Some of the issued magazines are older and jam,” Christine added.

The couple have set a goal to purchase six more magazines for each of the 25-members in Nathan’s unit and have found magazines manufactured in Colorado that they want. The military will accept the gift, Rob said, but providing the extra magazines carries a $4,500 price tag.

They, with help from members of the Industry Fire Department, where Rob is a co-captain and Nathan served as a firefighter and EMT before joining the Marines two years ago, will hold a benefit at 5 p.m. April 3 at the Industry Town Hall to raise money for the upgraded rifle magazines.

Along with a potluck supper, several area businesses have donated items for a raffle drawing, including a variety of gift certificates, from a custom stained glass piece to a free eye exam. The Geissers started selling the raffle tickets last week and they are available until April 3 at The Homestead Bakery, the Granary and Broadway Antiques in Farmington.

Nathan, a 2008 Mt. Blue High School graduate, is currently in Okinawa, Japan, training in preparation for departure. The exact date is unknown.

“Reconnaissance training takes a real long time, a lot of schooling,” he said. Nathan finishing most of it in December and made it home just before Christmas.

He can’t even tell his parents where he is most of the time although Rob believes he’s training in the mountains and cold similar to what he’s expecting in Afghanistan.

“He says he’s teaching the southern boys how to stay warm. Growing up in Industry, he’s used to it,” Rob said.

His training recently included having bullets flying over his head. He told his father “it’s comforting to know it’s our own.”

His parents handle that news with an understanding of the Marines and the resignation to the work that needs to be done.

“My experience with the Marines — if you meet one anywhere — it’s a brotherhood closer than some other types of service. I know he’s with his brothers,” Rob said.

The Geissers plan to purchase what they can with what is made during the April 3 benefit but have no plans at this point for continuing to raise funds. Raffle tickets are now available for $5 for one or $20 for five and attendance is not necessary for the drawing. The meal costs $5 per person or $12 per family of four.

For more information, contact the Geissers at 779-1677.

[email protected]