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Samantha L. Quigley American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2008 – A group of Texans is offering a warm embrace to make sure wounded servicemembers aren’t forgotten. A three-person team from Operation Military Embrace has been making weekly visits to servicemembers recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center, on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and their families since December 2005.
“Operation Military Embrace … has visited the inpatients on a Sunday while setting up and serving breakfast to the outpatients in the day room of the ‘med hold’ barracks on the (following) Monday morning,” said Jerry Reed, a former Marine and the organization’s president and executive director. The group also sets up a “free PX” that provides simple necessities, he added.
The group’s efforts also include outings that take recovering servicemembers to local restaurants. Those who are able can participate in Operation Military Embrace-organized hunting and fishing trips, as well.
“Brenda Kaiser offers her ranch to BAMC warriors in transition and their families for quiet, peaceful weekends away (from the hospital), where they can hunt and fish and relax with their families in … solitude,” Reed said. Kaiser is the group’s vice president.
The group doesn’t stop with morale-boosting activities for servicemembers, however. It also helps take care of practical needs through financial grants and financing of legal assistance.
Operation Military Embrace recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their family members serving at home and abroad.
“We expect to benefit (from the affiliation) by gaining exposure nationally and by being able to share with others what we are doing to help our men and women in uniform,” Reed said.
Reed and his wife, Debbie, are the parents of a Marine veteran and an active-duty Marine.