WHEELING — The West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation and Main Street Bank of Wheeling are urging local residents to remember those who serve their country this Memorial Day by donating money to provide items for soldiers healing in overseas hospitals.
The “We Remember” campaign was announced Friday by both the organizations in conjunction with the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project of Stafford, Va.
“What this campaign is about is recalling what is the true meaning of Memorial Day,” WVHTC Foundation Vice President and General Manager Joseph Allen said. “We are going to show that this Memorial Day, we remember those soldiers. … We are going to remember our fighting men and women.”
The funds raised will be used to purchase “comfort items” for patients at U.S. military hospitals and medical units in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.
“As time goes by, we sometimes desensitize ourselves to the ongoing war,” Main Street Bank Senior Vice President Cheri DeBlasis said, adding that it is important to think about what wounded soldiers go through as they work to heal. “These men and women sometimes require weeks and months of treatment.”
Karen Grimord, president of the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, spoke at the announcement of the campaign, which was held at West Virginia Independence Hall, and she described her experiences helping soldiers in the hospital in Germany.
“Many times all they have is their hospital gowns and sheets,” Grimord said. “Sometimes their belongings are thrown together, but they might not even be on the same flight.”
The four military hospitals inform Grimord of their patients’ needs and she, in turn, relays the information to the various fund-raising campaigns throughout the United States. Allen said the locally raised funds will be used to purchase the needed items to be shipped overseas. Grimord commented on how much the soldiers appreciate all they are given.
“It is such a wonderful feeling to know that some people really do care,” Grimord read from a thank-you note she had received from a soldier. “It brings tears to my eyes knowing that you want to help. God bless America and people like you.”
While there have been a wide variety of items needed, several of those typically requested include jersey shorts, non-logo colored T-shirts, sneakers, pajamas, blankets, pillows, sweat pants and foot powder.
“Regardless of your position on the war, we have young men and women who are severely wounded and need our help. As Memorial Day approaches, what a great time to remember these individuals with our donations to purchase items they need to ease their emotional and physical pain,” said Allen.
Area residents can drop off or mail a donation to Main Street Bank, 2001 Main St., Wheeling, W.Va. 26003. Checks are to be made payable to: We Remember/Main Street Bank.
In addition to direct donations to Main Street Bank, a bake sale will be held in the bank’s lobby beginning at 11 a.m. June 2.
The WVHTC Foundation, headquartered in Fairmont, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization functioning as an engine of economic change for growing a regional and statewide high tech business sector. The foundation has established a multi-faceted approach to maximize economic development, commercialization and work force development. In addition to its Fairmont headquarters, it has offices in Wheeling, Moundsville and Glenville.