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Carolyn, Angie and Linda of Hugs for Soldiers
We are the official HUGS FOR SOLDIERS located north of Atlanta in Duluth, Georgia and is a program and ministry of Duluth First United Methodist Church. Hugs for Soldiers is not affiliated with any other "HUGS" organizations or programs. We have been Supporting Our Troops since February 2003 when the program was founded by Angie Doerlich. Having grown up as an Army brat and being married to a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, she saw a need to support the troops deploying overseas and serving in harm’s way. After visiting with the Duluth Army Recruiting Office to see what could be done, Sergeant Christopher Long called her days later with contact names and addresses of the 2-69 Armor Battalion who had just deployed to the Middle East from Fort Benning, GA. Sergeant Long had previously been attached to the 2-69 AR of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and was able to assist in making suggestions for shipping care packages.
With the help of Linda Bailey and Carolyn Moore, Hugs for Soldiers started sending care packages, cards and letters of encouragement to a Battalion of 800 Soldiers. Along with many supporters and volunteers, the program has grown to what it is today. Angie has had the privilege of working closely with Commanders, Chaplains, and Family Readiness Groups to make sure the Soldiers and their families are taken care of during deployments.
During the 3rd Brigade's second deployment, over 200 individual Soldiers were adopted and cared for by families, individuals, schools and church groups. More than 1,000 Soldiers were sent HUGS through our large group projects, such as Christmas for a Soldier.
Focus was put on the Soldiers' families as well. Over 150 spouses and children from the 2-69 Armor and 1-15th INF, Ft. Benning, GA, were sponsored by our caring supporters so they could travel to be a part of Duluth Fall Festival's parade and other festivities. At least 70 military families received blessings and thanks from those who cared by supporting our Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Drives.
We are in our tenth year of supporting deployed troops overseas. Our program has grown from writing letters to a few Soldiers to touching the lives of thousands. Hugs for Soldiers has garnered national support and was recently named by Scholastic Parent Magazine as one of the Top Ten organizations in the United States to offer support for our troops.
Please take a few minutes and browse through our website to learn how you can start supporting our troops as well. We ask that you consider telling your friends, families, co-workers, schools, churches, neighborhood groups and businesses to look at our website and see how they, too, can be a part of this wondrous opportunity to give something back to our American Soldiers who so freely give to us!