Dorine Kenny and her work in honor of her son Jacob are the subject of a new documentary film from In Their Boots. You can see it at www.intheirboots.com.
I started Jacob's Light Foundation in memory of the most courageous and compassionate man I've known, my son, SPC. Jacob S. Fletcher. He was a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, out of Vicenza Italy. He was one of the thousand paratroopers to parachute into Northern Iraq on March 26th of 2003. My life changed 8 months later, on November 14th , when I got the devastating knock on my door telling me my only child Jacob had been killed.
In one of his many letters home he requested that I send a box and letters of support to one of his buddies who never received anything. It was my honor to do so, grateful that my son still embodied a caring heart even in the face of war.
Eleven days after my sons' death was his 29th birthday. I did what I knew would mean most to Jacob. I sent out a care box to his unit. This is the heart and was the beginning of what was to become Jacob's Light Foundation. This was the gift my son inspired to help me make it through the darkest hours of my life. It was my purpose of getting out of bed each morning. I worked until I couldn't keep my eyes open and passed into the relief of sleep at night. Comforting my sons brothers and sisters became my only comfort.
Jacob's Light Foundation has expanded into non-profit foundation that , to date, has sent over 230,000 lbs of supplies to our deployed troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
When I received a request from a commander, who was active on the front lines with his men in Iraq, it rang an alarm. He requested 500 units of blood coagulant bandages. They stop a wounded troop from bleeding out and having a chance to survive long enough to be medivaced to the nearest makeshift military hospital. We fulfilled the request immediately and made the shortage public before going to Congressman Steve Israel, who put an inquiry into the DOD. Within 11 days the Army signed a 2.5 million dollar contract for the lifesaving bandages. We supplied the troops in need until the Army received their supply to distribute to the troops.
The boxes we send contain toiletries, food, reading materials, letters from the public as well as seasonal supplies such as space blankets, cool bead bandanas, anti fungal creams, socks and any requests they have. We celebrate the holidays by sending special holiday treats. During the month I shop in quantity to prepare for our 9,000 + lb. packing. Many volunteers make our five day process of preparation, packing and shipping possible.
Jacob's Light has become a haven of support, not only to our troops, but families and friends of the deployed who gather to work and help each other get through the worries of war.
We send boxes to all branches of the military with our first priority being the troops that are alone without family support. We also focus on those in the forward operating bases who don't have access to the amenities that are offered at the large camps although , they too, have received many boxes.
As we have grown to send out 9,000 lbs of supplies each month we can no longer can accept items for our cause. We need help with funding to continue shining Jacob's Light upon our brave men and women who stand on the front lines for our great country. We hope to continue our work until every one of our noble Americans come home.