A Bowie resident injured while serving overseas was given a bit of hope by area residents during the weekend.
Volunteers working on the Blankets of Hope project by the charity Soldiers’ Angels, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., presented a fleece blanket as well as sports memorabilia from the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins football teams to 1st Lt. Joseph Muldoon III on Jan. 26 at Bowie’s Ascension Church.
Muldoon is undergoing physical therapy at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda and could not be reached for comment.
For Muldoon, a graduate of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, it was the second blanket he received from the group. Muldoon’s spine was shattered and his left arm mangled when an improvised explosive device blew up the armored vehicle he was riding inside June 27, 2012, in Afghanistan. Muldoon, a member of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, had deployed from Fort Bliss to Afghanistan in October 2011.
Following the injury, Muldoon was flown to the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where he received a blanket from the Bowie branch of the Blankets of Hope program, said Helene Muldoon, Joseph’s mother.
Joseph Muldoon is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, which is given for heroic and meritorious service and the Purple Heart, which is given to those who are injured in combat.
Muldoon was flown back to the United States on July 6, and he gave away his blanket to another soldier, Helene Muldoon said.
Volunteers with the Bowie branch of the program heard of Muldoon’s donation and arranged for him to receive a second blanket at the group’s annual blankets of hope marathon blanket making session at Ascension Church in Bowie. About 275 blankets were made during the seven-hour session, said Lisa Dodson, one of the coordinators of the Bowie project.
“He’s very humble. He doesn’t really consider himself a hero. He considers his men heroes,” said Helene Muldoon. “I think sometimes he gets overwhelmed with the emotion people show.”
Since 2006, the group has made hundreds of fleece blankets that are distributed to injured soldiers in Germany, a frequent stop for wounded soldiers before returning to the U.S., said Valerie Potter, a blanket program coordinator.
It’s rare for the group, which had about 175 volunteers Jan. 26 to meet a recipient of one of their blankets, Dodson said.
“He was so humble,” said Dodson, a Bowie resident. “He (visited the group) because it was such validation for what we had done.”