Operation Backpacks for Wounded Soldiers

January 10, 2007 - Posted at 5:58 p.m. CST

JONESBORO-For the friends and families of wounded soldiers, their mission was simple, raise money and collect backpacks.

"I just say it's going to walter reid hospital and ask if they can help out, and they usually do," said Chase Parker.

And it was a visit to see his brother, Reddi, that led to the start of this community wide backpack drive.

"It's been really great. We've had so many people stop by and ask questions. And some of them have already heard about it and came prepared. They've just been real supportive," said Mona Parker who organized the backpack drive.

And for people coming in and out of the Wal-Mart Super Center on Highland, it was pretty hard not to recognize the ladies on a mission.

"I believe in what they are doing. I think it's a great cause for them to want to collect backpacks for the soldiers that were injured and lost limbs, and they are sending them to the walter reid. It's just a blessing that there are people out here that are willing to do stuff like this," said Wilma Whull.

Whull not only donated backpacks, but she volunteered to come back on Sunday and help collect more.

"The soldiers are dear to my heart. They are making the ultimate sacrifices for us to be free here in america. I just think everybody should get involved and do something," said Whull.

And to those like Zack Blansett, leaving again for Iraq early Sunday morning, their efforts aren't going unnoticed.

"It's a great respect to us, that's how i feel about it. I like to see it because here we don't have any bases, and to see the support is great," said Blansett.

And with dozens of backpacks collected and buckets filled with donations,it's safe to say,this mission is accomplished.

"I was hopeful, but it's just been overwhelming," said Parker.

Operation Backpacks for Wounded Soldiers will be set up again Sunday at the same location taking monetary donations as well as serving as a drop off point for backpacks.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.