CAMDENTON, Mo. – On Saturday, October 12 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Suits For Soldiers Lake Ozark, along with the help of Jeanne Rackers and Paula Nienhueser, will be giving away a brand new Men's Warehouse suit, complete with a shirt, tie, and shoes, to active military members as well as veterans. Women's clothes are donated by Dreams to Realty and HOPE House. Vouchers will also be available at the event.
Suits are donated by H.E.R.O.E.S. Care. H.E.R.O.E.S. Care is a conjoined effort among well established non-governmental organizations designed to provide complete and proactive support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and post-deployment.
H.E.R.O.S. Care partnered with clothier Men’s Wearhouse in providing new business suits, dress shirts, shoes and other clothing accessories for the current year. The groups have budgeted $350,000 nationally in merchandise to be given to both active military and veterans.
Locally, last year the drive afforded 150 suits to Lake area residents who have served our country. The process for the veteran is simple: they just need to provide proof of military service with discharge papers (DD-214), or some other type of veterans identification card. Rackers has first hand experience dealing with the military, as her husband is active duty with the Missouri National Guard - United States Army, and her son returned in May from his first deployment in Kuwait with the United States Air Force. Rackers explained that her passion is giving back to our servicemen and women, and this program has been particularly fulfilling.
One incident from last March at the City of St. Louis giveaway was especially touching for Rackers. A 92-year-old veteran said he rode three city busses and walked the last six blocks with his walker to attend the event so that he could be buried with dignity in a suit.
All active military and veterans, whether they are transitioning into the civilian workforce after years of wearing an issued uniform or would just like a new suit, are invited to this free event.
Many military representatives will be on hand including the USO Mobile and VA Mobile Unit to provide services, answer questions, and serve lunch and snacks. free haircuts, live music, drawings for door prizes, a raffle, and more will be provided throughout the day.
For this event to be successful, Rackers and Nienhueser not only need monetary donations for administrative costs associated with having t-shirts and tote bags made and posters printed, but they need community members to also donate their time. Volunteers are needed to transport suits from St. Louis, set up clothing and racks, and then tear them down after the event is over. Another major need is for people to volunteer to be a "battle buddy." Each solider gets their own battle buddy to to walk around with from station to station to help with measuring and to keep them company.
Interested veterans can register for Suits for Soldiers Lake of the Ozarks through the Camdenton Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW post). For more information, H.E.R.O.E.S. Care can be reached via their Facebook page.
In addition, Jeanne Rackers can also be contacted by phone directly at 573-268-6874.