Several years ago we, the Crowley family, decided we wanted to try to help and acknowledge some of the most severely injured soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Walter Reed Army Hospital is one of our U.S.-based hospitals where the severely wounded soldiers are taken and Ward 57 is the amputee ward, which has been our focus, and Ward 57 typically has 24 soldiers.

To help lighten the spirits of our brave soldiers, we purchased 24 stockings and filled them with gifts we hope they will enjoy. We send them each a stress relief Uncle Sam hat, a Statue of Liberty pen, a pocket calendar, all of which have "Thanks to our Heroes!" engraved on them, a paperback book, a commemorative silver dollar with an American Eagle, an American Eagle/USA baseball hat, an M&M-filled candy cane, as well as a traditional candy cane, and we also put an American flag pin on the trim of the stocking.

We also send each soldier a letter commending them for their service.

The staff at Ward 57 has always been very helpful to us in the receipt of the stockings and distribution, so we send them extra stockings along as well, so they know their efforts are appreciated.

We believe the efforts, sacrifices and commitments provided by the men and women of the armed forces are immeasurable, invaluable and incredibly honorable, and these stockings are our way of saying thank you to these brave men and women and letting them know that we are thinking of them with gratitude.

It gives us great joy to fill up these stockings and ship them, but when we receive a thank you note, sometimes from the soldiers, sometimes from their spouse, it really warms our hearts and reminds us of how lucky we are to have these brave men and women fight for our rights and our freedoms.

The Crowleys

Steve Crowley, Judi Crowley Simonetti

Luke Crowley, Bob Crowley

Westport