When a serviceman or servicewoman is injured in the line of duty, life not only changes for that person, but for their whole family.
That’s why the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce donated dozens of gifts last week to children in the Little Warriors Easter Seals Respite Services program.
The Easter Seals Respite Services program of Silver Spring allows parents to drop off their kids with special needs for eight to 40 hours a month for hands-on activities, arts and crafts or time on the playground. The Little Warriors program allows wounded warriors to do the same for their kids, including those without special needs.
The Silver Spring chamber has monthly Business After Hours networking events for local businesses to make connections within the community. This month, President and CEO Jane Redicker said members were asked to bring a toy for a Little Warrior between the ages of 6 months and 10 years old. Redicker said that since Walter Reed National Military Medical Center relocated to Bethesda, they were hoping to connect with a local organization that focuses on veterans and wounded warriors.
“I think there’s just a special place in everybody’s heart in Silver Spring for those who serve our country and those who sacrifice their life and limb to serve our country,” Redicker said.
Brooke Kaiser, director of respite services for Easter Seals, which caters to residents in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., said many military families take advantage of the free program because it allows the children a chance to “just be kids” despite medical bills, insurance, hospitals, treatments and rehabilitation for the wounded parent. She said purchasing a gift might put a “financial strain” on the family.
“It’s just one less thing for them to worry about,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser said at least 30 gifts from chamber members arrived at Easter Seals last week. The presents have been placed around a tree at the center and will be given to kids in the coming days. She said collaborating with the chamber and local businesses allows them to come together as a community and support military families.
“I think it’s really important to give back to those who serve our country — especially wounded warriors,” Kaiser said.