We hear the stories about their dedication, the risk they take by putting their lives on the line. And we hear of the often life-long injuries they suffer. But what happens when they try to recover and regroup with their families?
It can be difficult and isolating.
That’s why some local police agencies are trying to change that.
Sometimes the smallest missions can mean the most: A simple box of donated items to help a healing soldier.
That’s why Jim Tignaanelli of the Police Officers Association of Michigan started a donation drive a few years back to collection items to send injured soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C.
He said the idea came to him when he dropped off a clean white T-shirt at the medical center and realized there was a need for more.
“These guys that we’re trying to help are long-term patients and they’re recovering from multiple surgeries,” he said.
National Guard veteran Bill Fox suffered a gunshot wound to his arm.
“I know what it’s like and I just don’t want to see these guys be forgotten,” Fox said. “Obviously it really helps lift your spirits a lot when you, you know, when you see the support that you’re getting.”
Some of the items that the group is collecting are electric shavers, T-shirts, books, backpacks, gift cards for iTunes or Amazon, iPads, Kindles, DVD players and DVDS and even small toys for children.
The donations not only help the soldiers, but their families who also spend hours in their hospital room.
Because of the risk of infection, whatever goes into a soldier’s room can’t leave. That’s why so many donations are needed.
Bob Maciolek served in the National Guard for 14 years and was also injured. He said he knows what it’s like to be given something from someone you don’t even know.
“It’s like Christmas and birthdays for me. You know, it’s always, ‘Hey, what cool stuff am I going to get?’ And cool stuff is as simple as a bag of peanut M&Ms,” Maciolek said.
The group is trying to get as much as they can to deliver all at once.
“We’ll do anything to support vets any way we can at the police department,” said Shelby Township Police Chief Rollins Woelkers. “A lot of our department are vets. I’m a vet.”
Anyone interested in making a donation can drop off items at the Shelby Township Police Department or the Dearborn Police Department before May.
Donations can also be made online at: 2013 Walter Reed Benevolent Donation Drive