11 March 2013

The 7th Annual Blankets of Hope Marathon

The annual 'Marathon', created by Lisa Dodson and Matt Dick, took place again this year at the Ascension Church Hall in Bowie, MD. On January 26, 2013, the community gathered for the seventh year in a row to make Blankets of Hope for wounded and ill service members medevaced from Afghanistan to Landstuhl hospital in Germany. The blankets have been sent to the Soldiers' Angels chapter at Landstuhl for distribution to the patients.

Putting the marathon together involves months of dedication and effort - planning, publicity, organization, and fundraising. Lisa and Matt would like to thank everyone in the community who donated time, fabric, and funding.

This year, the Marathon had a very special guest: A local Soldier who had received one of their blankets after being wounded in Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Joseph Muldoon III.

From Alan J. McCombs of the Gazette.Net:

Volunteers working on the Blankets of Hope project by the charity Soldiers’ Angels, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., presented a fleece blanket as well as sports memorabilia from the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins football teams to 1st Lt. Joseph Muldoon III on Jan. 26 at Bowie’s Ascension Church.

Muldoon is undergoing physical therapy at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda and could not be reached for comment.

For Muldoon, a graduate of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, it was the second blanket he received from the group. Muldoon’s spine was shattered and his left arm mangled when an improvised explosive device blew up the armored vehicle he was riding inside June 27, 2012, in Afghanistan. Muldoon, a member of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, had deployed from Fort Bliss to Afghanistan in October 2011.

Following the injury, Muldoon was flown to the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where he received a blanket from the Bowie branch of the Blankets of Hope program, said Helene Muldoon, Joseph’s mother.

Joseph Muldoon is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, which is given for heroic and meritorious service and the Purple Heart, which is given to those who are injured in combat.

Muldoon was flown back to the United States on July 6, and he gave away his blanket to another soldier, Helene Muldoon said.

1st Lt. Joseph Muldoon III, who was wounded in Afghanistan last year, with some of the volunteers of the 7th Annual Blankets of Hope Marathon in Bowie, MD. Muldoon, a Bowie resident, received his second blanket from the group at the event.

Volunteers with the Bowie branch of the program heard of Muldoon’s donation and arranged for him to receive a second blanket at the group’s annual blankets of hope marathon blanket making session at Ascension Church in Bowie. About 275 blankets were made during the seven-hour session, said Lisa Dodson, one of the coordinators of the Bowie project.

“He’s very humble. He doesn’t really consider himself a hero. He considers his men heroes,” said Helene Muldoon. “I think sometimes he gets overwhelmed with the emotion people show.”

Since 2006, the group has made hundreds of fleece blankets that are distributed to injured soldiers in Germany, a frequent stop for wounded soldiers before returning to the U.S., said Valerie Potter, a blanket program coordinator.

It’s rare for the group, which had about 175 volunteers Jan. 26 to meet a recipient of one of their blankets, Dodson said.

“He was so humble,” said Dodson, a Bowie resident. “He (visited the group) because it was such validation for what we had done.”

The pile of finished blankets.

Some of the Blankets of Hope made by volunteers at the 7th Annual Marathon after arrival at Landstuhl military hospital in Germany.

On behalf of our wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center I'd like to thank Lisa and Matt for their leadership, the rest of the organization team for their efforts, and all of the participants for their patriotism and compassion.

Congratulations on another successful Marathon!

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