ALBANY, Ga. -- During National Nurses Week this year, Palmyra Medical Center wanted to do something to show appreciation to their fellow man.
The nurses at the hospital sponsored a facility-wide fundraiser to support the Wounded Warrior Project by providing needed clothing and other items to Marines who sustained injuries in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sue Blackburn, a nurse in Palmyra's rehab center and the mother of a wounded soldier, initiated the challenge. She contacted Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and was given contact information for the Marine liaison at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. From there, she was provided a list of articles wounded Marines might appreciate receiving.
"We wanted to do something to support the community," she said. "Seeing as how there is a Marine Corps Logistics Base here, we thought we might want to reach out to the warrior.
"If you have visited the soldiers (that have been wounded), you know you're talking about catastrophic injuries."
Blackburn's son spent a year at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., after suffering injuries in Somalia.
"I can relate to what these families are going through," she said. "I know very well what these kids go through.
"It's terrifying as a parent not knowing what's going on; it's extremely difficult for families at home."
Throughout Nurses Week, which ran from May 6-12, and into National Hospital Week, May 9-15, the hospital's nurses set up collection stations. Monetary as well as clothing donations were received, but because sending money to a particular location is not permitted, Blackburn used those funds to purchase some needed items.
The results turned up athletic shorts, Marine shirts, T-shirts, socks, cameras and telephone cards for 20 Marines. Palmyra is also contributing a large towel for each Marine.
"I am certainly proud of the commitment they make," Blackburn said. "They are very appreciative when they get these packages in the mail. They love it."
A total of $1,000 worth of donations was collected. The boxes will be sent out to Bethesda Naval Hospital later this week.
"When she (Blackburn) came up with the idea, it was an awesome thing to see," said Lawanda Cochran, a nurse and clinical manager at Palmyra. "When we see the stories of wounded soldiers, it is very touching."
The Wounded Warrior Project's headquarters is in Jacksonville, Fla. It is a non-profit organization that provides tangible support for severely wounded soldiers and helps them on the road to recovery. In the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, 82 cents of every dollar raised went directly to services and programs.
For more information on the project, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.