To soldiers, socks make a difference

Next month, Wilton High School’s Socks for Soldiers program will observe its 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, three students who act as program coordinators — Kace Stewart, Connor Burke, and Jake Zeyher — spoke at the school’s Veterans Day assembly on Monday.

According to club adviser Dan Pompa, the club’s most recent drive collected 485 pairs of socks, bringing the total so far to 12,713. Also attending the ceremony were American Legion member Alex Ruskewich and Post 86 Adjutant Tom Moore.

“Socks for Soldiers is a student led organization that donates socks and other items to U.S, soldiers and veterans,” Kace explained, noting socks have been sent to servicemembers around the world.

Connor read from a letter sent by James Jeffery, a military contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The Infantry soldiers here in Iraq spend much of their time patrolling the streets and countryside on foot. With temperatures well above 120 degrees it is very important to have dry comfortable socks to wear. Receiving letters and packages from home truly improves the morale and general well-being of the brave men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Kace read from a short letter from a combat platoon in charge of clearing roads of bombs. “It is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-day-a-week mission and we are constantly on patrol,” he read. “Simple items like socks become a commodity.”

Jake told of the program’s expansion. “On top of sending socks to active duty soldiers, we have also been involved in assisting veterans through Provisions for Patriots in Indiana and Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport,” he said. Through Provisions for Patriots they collect winter clothing such as coats and gloves for homeless veterans. Socks, toiletries, and food items have gone to Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport.

The club holds drives four times a year. Its December drive will be dedicated to collecting personal hygiene items and gloves and other small winter wear.

“We would like to thank everyone who has donated because you truly are making a difference in thousands of soldiers’ and veterans’ lives,” Jake said. “It is amazing that something as simple as socks can have such an impact on the lives of our soldiers.”