'Operation Baby Shower' brings joy to military moms -- Former Berryville resident's plan to support military spouses is huge success

Monday, June 11, 2007
LeAnn Morrissey, formerly of Berryville, was overwhelmed by the response of businesses and individuals to her call for items to include in a baby shower for new and expecting military moms.Photo submitted

LeAnn Morrissey, formerly of Berryville, helped throw a baby shower last Sunday -- not for one, but for 17 new and expectant military moms.

"Operation Baby Shower" was Morrissey's way of supporting the troops, by giving a little support to the wives of military men serving in the 32 Medical Logistics Battalion at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Eleven of the 17 women's spouses are currently deployed and six of the military moms are active duty soldiers themselves.

While many events have been held to show support for the men and women serving in war zones, very little has been done to recognize and support the new and expectant military wives, many of whom have given birth while their spouses are overseas.

After conversations with her uncle, Lt. Col. Mark Stubbs, who is stationed at Ft. Bragg, the idea was born. Morrissey, who lives in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, Mo., with her husband, Ed, and their five-year-old son, Keilan, went to work, spreading the word about "Operation Baby Shower" via her parenting Web site, Lena's Notebook. She enlisted another on-line parenting site, cleverparents.com, run by Kris and David Jackson, not knowing just how much of an outpouring of support her idea would receive.

Businesses and individuals from all over the country responded, Morrissey said. By the time plans were being made to hold the shower, more than 50 companies and numerous individuals had donated items.

Most surprised of all were the recipients of the shower gifts. "They told me it was going to be a baby celebration," April Catclaw told a reporter from the Fayetteville, N.C., Observer. "I thought maybe we'd get a pack of diapers."

What each of the 17 women received was a cornucopia of baby goods, ranging from diaper bags and baby shoes to bouncers, blankets and towels. Each shower package was valued at more than $600. According to the Observer, the hit of the party was a "onesie," fit for a military baby, with the words, "Active Doodie" displayed on the bottom.

The event was such a success, Morrissey and the Jacksons are already working on more baby showers at military bases across the nation. She said they are in the process of forming a non-profit organization.

Morrissey, daughter of Carol Ann and Paul Engskov, of Holiday Island, can be reached at lena@lenasnotebook.com for more information about donating to the project.

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