Friday, December 5, 2008

"This wasn't just stuff..."

The "stuff" Linda Ferrara is talking about is precious donations that she and friends had spent months collecting. The collection of of hundreds of socks, sweat shirts, pajama pants, boxers, blankets and other items, was about to be shipped to Landstuhl military hospital. All those items were stolen over the weekend from the RV that Linda had them packed and ready to go.

Linda is no ordinary woman. Apart from working tirelessly with Soldiers' Angels, she is a Gold Star Mother. Her son, Matthew, paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan on November 9, 2007.

Photo of 1st Lt.  Matthew  C. Ferrara

In the year since Matthew - a West Point grad - died, leaving behind an extended family in both America and New Zealand, this Californian mother, Linda, has worked tirelessly collecting clothes and very special blankets for the wounded troops who continue Matthew's mission. A consignment of those special blankets were ready to go to Germany. It seems some lowlifes had other ideas. The blankets (among all the other items now gone) are handmade - with love and prayers, and from all I hear, are treasured by the soldiers who receive them. The soldiers FEEL the love that goes into every stitch.


Ferrara estimates the monetary value of all the stolen goods ast about $6,000 but of course, the many hours spent making the blankets and gathering the socks etc, are priceless. Also priceless is the comfort our troops get from these items of support and appreciation from grateful Americans. No amount of money can really reflect the hours that Linda, and her fellow volunteers within SA and the West Point Parents Club of Orange County put into this consignment.

As well as stealing all these unique items, the thieves also took the time to rip to shreds the letters and cards intended to accompany everything to Germany. These words from the heart were going to our "wounded warriors" as an expression of caring. I don't really have enough words to express my disgust at what has been done here.

Ferrara says that Compton sheriff's deputies took a report and fingerprints. However, it seems that Ferrara's insurance company is not going to cover the replacement costs for these stolen goods. The 'rationale' for that decision? It seems that because everything was about to be donated, Ferrara can't claim 'ownership'; therefore nothing that has been stolen is covered by her policy.

This story has been picked up by local media. Daily Breeze has a couple of stories on this, here.

You can read also find information by going to SA Germany site. You can find that here. In the comments on SA Germany, you'll also find unanimity about the riff raff thieves:

' ..."thank you" letters to wounded soldiers were torn to shreds", pretty sick. '...(SA Germany)

and on the main Soldiers' Angels main forum, at least one creative punishment for the thieves:

"I think who ever did this should have to clean and kiss the boots of an entire platoon for 6 months..." (yes, they really ARE Angels. Honestly! Here:

In the meantime, as the police try to track down these miscreants, Soldiers' Angels is now determined to replace everything stolen. If you can help replace these "uninsured" treasures, you can go to either of the SA sites to find out how. You can also find a few posts about Linda, and her her son, Matthew, on SA Germany.

Linda Ferrara wears a locket with a photo of her son Matthew, who was killed in action last year in Afghanistan. (Brad Graverson/Staff Photographer - Daily Breeze)

This Gold Star Mother is an amazing woman in her own right. On SA Germany, in the comments, MaryAnn Phillips, SA VP and blogmaster (and so much more) for the SA Germany operation, says:

"...I've spoken with Linda and although she was also very angry at first, she has calmed down and says she feels something good will come of it.

Somehow, I think she's right...[here]

My hope is that we CAN make more than "something" good from this. This Gold Star Mother, her volunteers, and most of all our troops have more than earned it.

[UPDATE: LaTimes is on it here

and Michelle Malkin here.]

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