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A Soldier’s Hands

It was 16 years ago when a young Soldier off to war crossed paths with a Mother he didn’t know. Their resulting conversation about skin care led to a Program that’s now provided a unique show of support to thousands of Military Personnel.

It does happen, a chance encounter. Trish Shallenberger of A Soldier’s Hands saying: “So I was on an airplane ride, August 1st, 2007. And because that middle seat was open, I began talking to him. I immediately noticed his hands were a mess. The tops were sunburnt. His palms had huge welts. He explained he was at Ft. Hood, Texas. They were trying to get acclimated to heat, and he was on his way to Iraq.”

This encounter leading to a life changing endeavor. Trish adding: “So that Thanksgiving Day, he received something for every person in his unit. That’s how A Soldiers Hands started.” Trish Shallenberger likes to use her hands when she talks. Ironic, symbolic, what ever you want to term it. In this case, because that chance encounter with a soldier on a plane resulted in her developing the “A Soldiers Hands” Organization.

Its a non-profit that prepares care packages to deployed Service Members world-wide and its drawn support from other groups supporting military members. Roy Edmundson of the SPC Chad A. Edmundson Foundation saying: “You know, I often think what it would be like to be thousands of miles from home and you don’t receive anything from anyone back here. What a privilege it would be to get a package in the mail, and that package has letters, or candy, cards and sunscreen.”

On Saturday, May 27th, A Soldier’s Hands will be among other groups for a special event at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. You still have time to register. Trish saying: “Were going to have other Veterans Support Services in the area – Altoona, Dubois. Were going to have information from Centre County.”

It’s a 5k walk to remember our fallen on Memorial Day weekend. Trish adding: “And the idea is, why do we have Memorial Day? Why do we have this Museum. Its just to settle down, be quiet, and remember the fallen.”

That conversation with a soldier 16 years ago has led to A Soldier’s Hands now distributing more than 25,000 military care packages, with more on the way. Trish, in closing: “When I leave here. We are finally prepared to ship to the U.S.S. Nimitz, and that is 5,300 Sailors.

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