WEST RICHLAND -- Scott Rouse's prized outdoor magazines will soon provide some sorely needed escapism for some servicemen and women in Iraq.
Last week, Rouse parted with a collection he started in 1994, packing them in eight boxes and lugging them to a post office to send to a Fort Lewis-based soldier serving in Iraq.
There, he hopes the 252 magazines -- Eastman's Hunting Journal, Eastman's Bow Hunting Journal, Trophy Hunter and Bugle -- will be a surprise holiday lift for men and women eager for entertainment and reminders of home.
They can thank a home remodeling project, and Rouse's posting on a hunting website, for the gifts.
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Rouse, an avid hunter and lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, filled bookshelves in his West Richland home with his collection. The magazines accumulated, occasionally to the dismay of his wife, Ann.
"I figured there would be information in them I could reference, so I kept them," said Rouse, who has passed along his passion for the outdoors to son Gavin, 13.
"My wife hounded me about getting rid of them over the years," he said.
The collection kept expanding until the couple decided this year to paint the room with the bookshelves.
"I had to move the bookshelves, so I thought, 'Maybe it's time,' " Rouse said.
Instead of recycling them or tossing them, Rouse posted on the forum site of the website hunting-washington.com and offered the magazines to anyone who wanted them.
The item attracted the attention of Capt. David Raines, an outdoorsman stationed at Fort Lewis who is serving in Iraq.
"He said he wanted them, and that guys over there would love them because they can get pretty bored," Rouse said. "He said it's hard to get subscriptions to outdoor magazines sent over there, because they get stolen."
Ann admitted she was ecstatic when her husband informed her he finally was parting with his magazines. The thought of throwing them out never crossed her mind, she said, because Scott would have known immediately that one or more was missing.
"When he told me he was finally getting rid of those magazines, I was super happy," she said, laughing. "Then he told me what he wanted to do, and I was even happier."
Others who posted on the Web site offered to send money to help pay for postage. This week, Rouse said one man made good on his promise, sending him a check for $20. He got a flat rate to ship the 147 pounds of magazines. The total bill was $87.60.
Rouse also included a note in each box explaining the donations were enthusiastically endorsed by his wife.
"He wrote that they had been a source of contention over the years," Ann said.
But Rouse knows they will be appreciated.
"I've communicated a little with Dave, and he sounded ecstatic," Rouse said. "He thinks the guys over there will just love them."
* Kevin McCullen: 509-582-1535; firstname.lastname@example.org