A group of military veterans has launched a campaign to raise money for the families of soldiers who’re serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the soldiers themselves. The Iowa Reserve Officers Association is selling a newly-designed, magnetic, red-white-and-blue ribbon to raise money for the project. Most of the money will be sent to family support groups according to Robert Krause, president of the Iowa Reserve Officers Association. Krause says the groups do whatever they can to help one another while their loved ones are overseas defending us. The military family support groups will use the money in a variety of ways, from welcome home ceremonies to plane tickets for family members who want to fly overseas to be by a wounded soldier’s side. Mark McCormick, a Des Moines lawyer and former Iowa Supreme Court Justice who is part of the Naval Reserve, is honorary chairman of the fundraising campaign. “I couldn’t think of a better idea — the notion of being able to do something tangible and also the aid with the circulation of a symbol to remind people of the sacrifices that are being made,” McCormick says. State Senator Steve Warnstadt is an officer in the Iowa National Guard and he served in Iraq during Desert Storm 13 years ago. “Family support groups are the unsung heroes in our national defense,” Warnstadt says. He says families make huge sacrifices, and need the help this group can offer. “Support for family readiness is as important for our national defense as the money spent on ammunition and salaries,” Warnstadt says. Preshia (PREHSH-uh) Paulding-Buldhaupt of Des Moines has a husband in the military and while he’s not overseas right now, she’s the leader of a family support group. Paulding-Buldhaupt says she’s love to create a network to help families with plumbing, roofing or any financial crisis that may pop up while their soldier is away. You can contribute on-line at the group’s website which is www.Lest-We-Forget.us, but if you can’t remember that, you can find a link on www.radioiowa.com. Organizers of the fundraising effort say profits from the yellow ribbons you see on sale in many retail outlets go to the retailer, not to the military or military families.
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