May no soldier go unloved,
May no soldier walk alone,
May no soldier be forgotten,
Until they all come home.
Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso
It is the time of year for giving – and so many families are looking for opportunities to give back or “pay it forward” within their communities. There are so many wonderful opportunities, from adopting a family to toy and coat drives. However, there is a group out there who dedicates their time and energy to helping deployed servicemen and women.
Soldiers’ Angels was founded in 2003 by Patti Patton-Bader. The Pasadena, CA native is the daughter of war Veteran LTC (ret) David Patton, so supporting the troops was a way of life. It was during her oldest son’s deployment in Iraq, however, that Patti identified a need to help. Staff Sergeant Brandon Varn was happily receiving his mom’s care packages when he commented that he was one of the few soldiers to enjoy such a treat. Patti gathered neighborhood friends and worked together to send care packages to the entire platoon. As word traveled, Patti and her group received requests from across the globe.
More could be done to help. Patton-Bader recognized that Americans were ready and willing to help, just lacked the channels to get their kindness into the hands of the soldiers who needed it most. Using technology, determination and the heart of a military mother and daughter, Patton-Bader built an online community of Angels who work diligently to fulfill the needs of deployed soldiers.
As word spread of Patton-Bader’s efforts, so did the number of businesses wanting to participate. So many businesses were looking to donate time, money, goods and services that Patton-Bader’s band of helpers needed to formerly reorganize as a 501(c)(3) in 2004. Over the past fifteen years, Soldiers’ Angels has grown and changed to adapt to the current military needs. As always, they match the availability of their volunteers with the needs of a solder.
While they have continued helping the deployed soldiers, Soldiers’ Angels have also spread their wings to include Veterans, wounded soldiers, families and more. The group, who was led by Patti Patton-Bader until 2013, has won several awards and been recognized many times over. Some of their recognitions include:
- Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service from the Department of the Army
- George Washington Spirit Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart
- Microsoft Above and Beyond Extra Effort Award
- James C. Van Zandt Citizenship Award from the VFW
- The Spirit of Hope Award from the Secretary of Defense