Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Sam Nurse, Girl Scout Send Fresh Socks To Troops

Submitted by Jennifer Kovalich, marketing manager, Good Samaritan Medical Center
BROCKTON – As a nurse, Susan Bradley knows how important it is for U.S. servicemen to keep their feet clean and dry to avoid infections and other illnesses in the sweltering heat of Afghanistan.
When she learned that her son, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard Wencek, 21, and his unit did not have running water in Afghanistan to launder their socks and needed a new pair every few days, she worked with the Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Mission program to launch a sock drive for troops in need.
The response has been overwhelming.
“I expected to get a few packages. My whole kitchen table is full,” said Bradley, of Weymouth, who has worked at Good Samaritan for 34 years.
From June 28 through June 30, Good Samaritan Medical Center ran a sock drive at the hospital at 235 N. Pearl St. and its off-site locations.
Boxes decorated with patriotic garlands and American flags were placed in various spots and employees began to quickly fill them up with boot-length socks to be sent overseas.
After the first day, the medical center had collected nearly 200 pairs of new socks for the troops.
“I think I hit a nerve with a lot of people,” Bradley said. “It feels good to do something for our servicemen who are deployed,”she said.
Bradley's son Richard Wencek was deployed to Afghanistan in May.
His first deployment last year was on a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean.
Before reaching their mission destination, that ship, the USS Nassau, stopped to provide aid in Haiti following an earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in January of 2010.
In emails from his base in Afghanistan, Bradley said her son has told her temperatures there have soared to 125 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Sand, dirt and the lack of running water to do laundry have made it difficult for troops to keep their socks clean and their feet dry.
“The clean socks will help prevent foot fungus, infections and blisters,” she said.
One Good Samaritan employee who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to match all the donations made by hospital employees who are veterans.
That employee, a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Gulf War, says his service experience taught him to appreciate the value of fresh, clean, dry socks and spurred his desire to help troops who are serving now.
Bradley is a member of Proud Mass. Marine Moms. The group is made up of about 100 people.
They will package and ship the donated socks to troops overseas soon after the Fourth of July.
To help the group offset shipping costs Amanda Kramer, 12, of East Taunton donated $400 that she raised as part of a community service project in preparation for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah in the fall.
One of her friend’s fathers also previously served in Afghanistan.
“I wanted to do something to help others and by donating this money, I will be able to help a lot of our soldiers,” Kramer said.
Monique Aleman, Vice President of Mission, Community Partnerships and Communication at Good Samaritan, said the generous spirit of employees exemplifies the intent of the hospital’s Mission program which is dedicated to doing good for others.
“We are proud of all of our employees who showed their patriotic spirit in helping to keep our servicemen and servicewomen healthy while on the front lines,” Aleman said.
Bradley said the outpouring of support has been heartwarming and greatly appreciated.
“Everybody is thrilled to participate,” she said.
(Top photo: Susan Bradley, left, with Amanda Kramer. Courtesy Good Samaritan Medical Center)

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