First Lady Helps Surprise Military Moms for Mother's Day
Friday, May 11, 2012
By Malini Wilkes
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined dozens of Congressional spouses Thursday to assemble Mother’s Day gift boxes for the wives, moms and girlfriends of deployed troops.
“I can only imagine the challenge that this time brings for people with loved ones deployed,” Mrs. Obama said.
The USO teamed up with Full Circle Home to acquire and assemble 2,000 packages to be delivered to women across the country.
“Troops serving in harm’s way just want to know that someone back home is looking out for their loved ones,” said USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson.
The first and second ladies spent an hour standing in an assembly line on the lawn of the vice president’s mansion, filling boxes with perfume, lotions, gift cards, a charm bracelet, and most importantly, a handwritten note from the troops to the women in their lives.
“My son Beau is a major in the Delaware National Guard who was deployed to Iraq for a year and a half,” Dr. Biden said. “So I know what it feels like for a mom to see that familiar handwriting of a son or daughter thousands of miles away.”
Military moms Vickie Durfee and Lisa Miller are the driving force behind Full Circle Home, a non-profit founded in 2007 after Durfee’s deployed son asked her to send his girlfriend a Christmas gift. To date they’ve delivered more than 4,000 packages, mostly at Mother’s Day and around the winter holidays.
Congressional spouses from both parties also lent a helping hand, gathering on a cool, windy afternoon to wrap the lotions and potions in colorful tissue, tie them with ribbon and tuck them into goodie bags.
Tiffany Quayle’s task was wrapping bottles of perfume. She’s the wife of Rep. Ben Quayle (R- Ariz.), daughter-in-law of former vice president Dan Quayle and daughter of a Marine. She wanted to do her part to support military families.
“What they’re going through day-in and day-out with a husband or wife who might be deployed overseas, and you don’t see that person for months—it really does help you to keep things in perspective and make you feel grateful,” she said.
After the congressional spouses left and while volunteers from the USO and Full Circle Home were cleaning up, Vice President Biden made a surprise visit, walking out of the house to greet the USO’s Gibson and Full Circle Home’s Durfee and Miller.
Biden asked about the notes and gift boxes and talked about how he felt while his son was serving in Iraq, how important it was to hear from him and how difficult it was to wait for word from overseas. He thanked everyone and escorted Durfee and Miller inside for a private meeting.
Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden hosted Thursday’s event as part of their Joining Forces initiative to support military families.
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Photo caption: From left to right, Full Circle Home co-founder Vicki Durfee, First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Full Circle Home co-founder Lisa Miller assemble packages for delivery. (USO Photo by Mike Theiler)
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