America Supports You: Home-front Group Draws Accolades
By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2007 A home-front group that alters clothing for wounded servicemembers received accolades for its efforts on an evening news show last week.
“ABC’s World News Tonight” named Ginger Dosedel, founder of Sew Much Comfort, as being the news organization’s “Person of the Week” during its March 23 broadcast.
“It was wonderful of ABC to nominate us, and I truly look at that as an ‘us,’” Dosedel said. “I am only one small part of this organization. For them to take time to recognize everything America is doing to support the troops -- I think that is incredibly important.”
President Bush invited the Dosedel family for a visit to the White House today so he could meet the inspiration for the nonprofit organization – Dosedel’s son, Michael.
When the 13-year-old was younger, he had to undergo multiple surgeries on his legs that prohibited his wearing of regular clothing. His mom started making him clothing to accommodate the casts and large metal braces while he recuperated.
Dosedel applied her knowledge of adaptive clothing to help wounded troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan when she formed her organization in 2004.
She now heads up more than 1,000 volunteer seamstresses throughout the nation to sew adaptive clothing to help wounded troops who have difficulty wearing normal clothing due to amputations, burns or cumbersome medical devices.
“It’s nice that I can help all these people,” Michael said. “It can benefit a lot of people not only because it can give them a sense of dignity, but they can also go out on the street and feel good about themselves.”
Sew Much Comfort is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program helping grassroots groups show their support for members of the armed forces and their families.
“I know the volunteers work so hard doing something that is not easy,” she said, as she described the difficulty the organization’s volunteer seamstresses overcome in changing the way they think about making and adapting clothes for their recipients.
“It’s important to them to get this recognition,” she said.
The group’s seamstresses stretch across the nation, and include prison inmates who put their skills to use to thank the men and women in uniform.
“It’s huge for the inmates,” Dosedel said. She added that sewing for troops gives inmates life skills that are a tremendous increase to their self-esteem, as it allows them to do something for the men and women in uniform.
“It’s humbling to be part of something that does something that’s really, really good,” Dosedel said.
The adaptive clothing not only minimizes the visual impact of servicemembers’ wounds, she said, but it allows them to feel more independent, more comfortable and more dignified.
Hospital staff members also play a big role in the organization’s success at meeting the needs of wounded troops. They have frequently made recommendations on how to better adapt clothing for their patients.
Dosedel said small things like increasing the opening of a shirt to include the shoulder helps burn patients to more easily don clothing over the tender skin of their wounds. Amputees have difficulty with buttons, so she and her seamstresses make buttons decorative objects with fabric fasteners instead.
Dosedel said one servicemember who lost his arm in combat stands out in her mind. While he was going through the surgery amputating his right arm, she gave his wife a shirt made specifically for him. The next day she stopped by to see how he was doing.
“It’s a good day,” he said. “I got dressed by myself today.”