Sending military members a piece of home this holiday season

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Not everyone will get to spend the holidays at home this year, including members of our military who are serving overseas.

Thanks to a local effort, more than 400 service members will soon receive a little piece of home in the form of a warm fleece blanket. The Soldiers Wings blanket project began in 2008 when there was a request for blankets for wounded soldiers staying at field hospitals. Volunteers in southeast Minnesota stepped up and sent 40 blankets. Since then, they have made and sent around 2,500 to units in need of warm blankets.

This year, the group purchased materials, made, and shipped more than 400 blankets that will go to units serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey.

“Where they live and work it gets down to 30 degrees at night and 50 degrees during the day and they have nothing to stay warm, no blankets or anything,” explains Louann Anderson with Soldiers Wings SE MN. “So, they’ll be going off to them plus we have 250 Army National Guard deployed right now in the Sinai and they’ll all be getting one too.”

Anderson says Soldiers Wings is run 100% on donations and volunteers. Between the materials and postage, each blanket cost $25-$30, but Anderson says it’s all worth it when they hear stories from soldiers and their families.

“A young man was severely injured and was brought into the field hospital, one of our blankets covered him and that was the only thing that covered him while he traveled to Germany and then back to the states. His mother wrote us a letter and said he clung to that blanket all the way home, because it was a piece of home and it was hope that he would get back to the States.”

Anderson says they will be starting to organize for next years shipment soon. Anyone interested in helping out can send an email to soldierswingssemn@gmail.com or visit the Soldiers Wings SE MN Facebook Page

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