An early Christmas present for Marines who have received Purple Hearts

Purple Heart packing party photo
Scores of volunteers packed Purple Heart ornaments for combat wounded Marines Nov. 20 at VFW Post 1503 in Dale City. Photo by Julia LeDoux.

By Julia LeDoux | News and Messenger || November 30, 2011

DALE CITY, Va –It looked a lot like Christmas at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1503 in Dale City on Nov. 20 as hundreds of community volunteers came together for a Purple Heart ornament stuffing party.

Approximately 9,500 envelopes – the majority destined for every combat wounded Marine who has been injured since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2011 — were stuffed with a Purple Heart ornament during the events.

“It puts into perspective how many combat wounded veterans there are out there since 9/11,” said Capt. Jill L. Wolf of the Wounded Warrior Regiment, as she looked out over the sea of manila envelopes.“One of the most incredible parts of the day is to have the community out here with the Wounded Warrior Regiment and Semper Fi Fund to give a little something back to those who have give so much.”

Hosted by the Wounded Warrior Regiment and the Semper Fi Fund, a non-profit organization that assists wounded marines and sailors throughout their recovery process, the event was set to run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but wrapped up early because of the large number of volunteers who came out to lend a hand.

“It’s a great opportunity to do something to recognize their service and sacrifice,” said Susan Rocco, a case manager with the Semper Fi Fund, who brought her husband, Mike, to the event.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “Really, they’re great people and what a great cause.”

Quantico Young Marine Brenden Torres, and his mother, Spring, were also among those volunteering.

“It’s an honor,” said Spring as the two worked in tandem, placing ornaments in envelopes.

Nikki Lester brought more than a dozen members of the Gar-Field Marine Corps JROTC to the event. She said such volunteer opportunities remind the teens about the importance of service and sacrifice.

“It’s a learning experience,” she said as she watched the cadets stuff envelopes and load up a truck with boxes.

The ornaments will be shipped out to Marine Purple Heart recipients around the world.

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