'Sew Much Comfort' founder visits patients in Germany

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chuck Roberts
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs
As wounded servicemembers were loaded onto stretchers in preparation for their medical evacuation mission to get underway, a special visitor provided pillows and blankets to make their journey a little more comfortable.

One of the patients she attended to was a Soldier wearing a bulky metal halo protecting a severe leg injury. She made sure he received special footwear for the journey to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. After placing the specially made warm sock on the grateful Soldier, Ginger Dosedel gave him an affectionate pat on the shoulder.

Mrs. Dosedel is the founder of Sew Much Comfort, a nonprofit organization whose members have sewn more than 20,000 items of customized clothing for wounded servicemembers since it began in December 2004. But she said it's her son who deserves credit for an organization with volunteers from across the United States.

When her son had cancer as a 3-year-old, his treatment involved a metal halo and fixtures on his leg. Realizing he needed special clothing, Mrs. Dosedel learned to sew to make his clothes. While at Walter Reed one day for physical therapy, he noticed the wounded servicemembers and asked his mom to sew for them too. His wish is granted more than 1,000 times each month.

The success, she said, goes to the compassion of the American people who "really want to support the troops, and this is a very practical way to do it," said Mrs. Dosedel.

She said she wishes all Americans could witness the quality care and compassion for the wounded she witnessed during her visit at the bequest of Robbin Hobbins, the spouse of Gen. Tom Hobbins, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander. Mrs. Hobbins is the European regional coordinator for Sew Much Comfort.  She had invited Mrs. Dosedel to be a guest speaker at the USAFE spouse's conference.

Her visit included a tour of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the 435th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, which recently received its 40,000th patient since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"I wanted to see how they loaded patients onto planes and what we can do to make them more comfortable as they are transported back to the states," Mrs. Dosedel said while 43 patients were loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III. The experience helped put the Sew Much Comfort mission into perspective.

"We are a little tiny part of this and it really is such a huge demanding job to get the kids back home," said Mrs. Dosedel.  "We're very fortunate to be a part of it. I'm grateful to see this."

Their part may be small but it's significant and hugely appreciated, said Col. Beth Harrell, commander of the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron who escorted Mrs. Dosedel during the loading of the patients.

"It's part of the process," Colonel Harrell said of the Sew Much Comfort mission. The Air Force gets servicemembers back home for the medical treatment they need, and she said Sew Much Comfort is part of that healing process.

The official mission of Sew Much Comfort is to design, create and deliver customized clothing to accommodate a patient's medical devices and situations, which will provide ease of use and personal independence and minimize the visual impact of the medical condition. The goal is provide each servicemember with an individually designed and tailored wardrobe of adaptive clothing in order to provide him or her comfort and dignity, thereby facilitating the healing process. 

Sew Much Comfort is the only organization that provides specially designed adaptive clothing to military hospitals. Its volunteers and supporters are responsible for providing clothing for adaptation, and for providing the raw materials needed for special designs. Finished adaptive clothing garments are then shipped to military hospitals in the United States, LRMC and combat surgical hospitals in-theater. 

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