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Local Military Mom Collects Pajamas for GIs Overseas

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A local mother of a Marine is working to make sure wounded soldiers overseas have at least one comfort from home --- warm pajamas. She's organized a fundraising program called "Jammies for GIs."

When Marine reservists Lance Corporal Jeremy Lepsch of Tonawanda became ill while on duty at an anti-terrorist unit in Africa, his mother Cheryl Lepsch decided it was time to send wounded servicemen and women some comfortable bed wear. That's when she organized "Jammies for GIs." Pajamas and other personal items are packaged up and sent to those fighting the war in Iraq and stationed at other overseas posts.

"Because there have been over 15,000 wounded, the hospitals are having a hard time keeping up with the hospital gowns, so we thought it would be more comfortable for soldiers to be in pajamas instead," Lepsch said.

Now the "Jammies for GIs" fundraising effort has received an added boost. Proceeds from a song written in honor of a Rochester solider killed last month in Iraq will benefit the program. Lepsch says the song, "When a Solider Says Goodbye," is also to honor all fallen military men and women.

"It reflects the soldier talking down to his family and loved ones to let them know things will be okay," Lepsch said.

As her son continues to recover at a military hospital in North Carolina, Lepsch says she is learning the harsh realities the war is having on the US troops.

"He said 'Mom, I don't know how we are still fighting a war. Every half-hour another bus load of wounded comes in.' He said it is like a factory, non-stop, they bring in the wounded then another group of medical staff goes out immediately to get the next bus that comes it," Lepsch said. "He says it continues and that he doesn't know how the medical staff is keeping up with it."

Lepsch says learning of the numbers of Americans wounded has inspired her to send pajamas, t-shirts, underwear, socks and shampoo to give them a little comfort as they try recover.

To donate, you can go on line to www.jammiesforgis.com.