A bank and a sock-making company are joining forces to warm the hearts, and feet, of hundreds of Iowa National Guard members overseas. Fort Dodge-based First Federal Iowa will match donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000, and Fox River Mills of Osage will provide the military-grade socks at a discount and cover all shipping costs.
Fox River spokesman Mike Tyer says the idea was sparked by the recent deployment to Afghanistan of Iowa National Guard soldiers, the largest since World War Two. Tyer says, “We’re looking to help raise enough money to purchase a pair of socks for all 2,800 deployed soldiers in time for the holidays.”
The military does supply soldiers with socks as part of their uniforms, but Tyer says that footwear takes a beating. “Quality socks really make a big comfort difference for them on a day-to-day basis,” Tyer says. “We take for granted how important footwear is when we’re not standing on our feet all day. Those soldiers that are in really extreme conditions notice the different effects of weather as well as cushion and support.”
Fox River employs about 200 workers in Osage, which is where all of the company’s socks are made. Tyer says they’ve sent socks to soldiers for years but this is, by far, the largest effort that’s been done for the Iowa National Guard. He says it’s a welcome boost to the troops — for their gear and for their morale.
“It really is about wear, the difference between what’s provided and the Fox River Maximum, which is what will be sent,” Tyer says. “That sock really is meant for long-term use so that it doesn’t wear out and they’re not replacing their socks as quickly as they are with the provided style or some other brands.”
Donations can be made through the Fox River website: FoxSox4soldiers.com. Or at any of First Federal Iowa’s branches in: Ames, Ankeny, Burlington, Clive, Fort Dodge, Mount Pleasant, Nevada, Perry, West Des Moines.