By Steve Hartman
(CBS News) STAFFORD, Va. – With the 4th of July coming next week, we tell the story this week of an American who loves her country as much as anyone we know. For her, it’s not about wearing her patriotism on her sleeves — it’s about rolling them up, as we learned, “On the Road.”
If you’re a soldier arriving at Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, chances are you didn’t have time to pack. Which is why, once they’re on the mend, a lot of these wounded warriors need Karen Grimord’s packages.
They fill up a kind of commissary where everything is free — shelves of clothing, blankets, and everyday necessities. They can pick up everything they need to make their stay more comfortable.
“It makes a tremendous difference for their morale,” said Col. Luke Pittman.
Pittman told us the shelves of goods all come from donors — much of it, believe it or not, from a single donor in Virginia — a lone grandma in a two-car garage.
It’s full of boxes, both packed and folded up.
“I need lots of boxes,” says Karen Grimord. That much is obvious.
Every day, tape gun blazing, Grimord does her part for the war on terror. She sent her first box eight years ago after seeing a public service announcement and has been steadily ramping-up her operation ever since — both in quantity and quality.
“I figure if I don’t want to use it here, they’re not going to want to use it there,” she said, packing a box with brand new terry-cloth towels.
By comparison, military issue is sandpaper. Which is why, although it started with Landstuhl, Karen now gets requests from more than 150 combat hospitals, doctors and medics.
She can’t say no.
And “we shouldn’t say no,” she says. “I am going to try, with every bone in my body — if it’s on that wish list — I’m going to try to get it for them.”
To that end, she has now sent more than 7,300 care packages. She spends $40,000 on postage alone. And although she does have some financial supporters, they don’t cover all the costs by any means.
To learn more about the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, or to donate to Karen Grimord’s efforts, visit the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project website
She isn’t a wealthy person. “Not even close,” she says. And she puts her own money into the care package project — most of her savings. She just can’t stop.
A lot of people say they support the troops — but their commitment goes no further than their bumper sticker. Karen, on the other hand, is all-in. And will be as long as there are injured Americans in need of a little — anything.
“You just have to remember their faces and who they are — and you pack another box,” Grimord said.
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