Gold star mother seeks combat boots to honor fallen service members
By SARAH PEACHEY
Gold Star mother and volunteer Sheila Ryder Patton is seeking combat boots in any condition, from any era, in pairs or singles, for the Fort Campbell Army Community Service Survivor Outreach Services’ “Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll,” honoring more than 7,000 service members that have made the ultimate sacrifice in operations since 9/11.
Patton’s son, Army Staff Sgt. James R. Patton, was killed in action in a helicopter crash on April 18, 2010. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. “He is the reason, along with the rest of our fallen Soldiers that I am so passionate and dedicated to collecting the boots,” Patton said.
The idea for the memorial came from Theresa Johnson of the Fisher House three years ago, Patton said. Fort Campbell SOS will be re-creating that memorial, lining the 5K route for the Nov. 1 “Run, Walk or Roll” that will begin the Military Survivor Appreciation Week at Fort Campbell. Each boot will be decorated with a picture and information memorializing each individual. The deadline to receive boots is Oct. 20. As of the time of publication Oct. 6, ACS has collected more than 3,500 individual boots.
For those in the Fort Campbell area, boots can be dropped off on post at the USO, Army Community Services, the Family Readiness Center by Gate 1 and Backdoor Boutique, the Soldier for Life Center and the Gate 10 gym. Off post, collection boxes are located at Quantico Tactical Supply, Smith’s Tailor Shop, Bo’s Barbershop, US Cav, The Leaf Chronicle, VFW Post 4895 and Christian County Chamber of Commerce. If you aren’t in the area, boots can be sent via Fed Ex or UPS to ACS SOS, 2703 Michigan Ave., Fort Campbell, KY 42223. For more information about the event, call (270) 798-0272 or email FortCampbellSOSBootDrive@yahoo.com.