March 2007 Issue
Sewing Her Support
Ginger Dosedel describes herself as a military brat. She even grew up to marry an Air Force officer. But the last thing she ever thought she'd do was run a supply depot for troops from her Beavercreek living room.
Her 12-year-old son, Michael, changed all that.
In 2004, mother and son were at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., for another one of Michael's surgeries: The boy suffered from a form of muscle cancer that required periodic operations for his legs to grow properly. Dosedel, a stay-at-home mother of three, had taken up sewing, eager to create customized pants to accommodate Michael's limbs.
But at the medical center, Michael was around patients who were in even greater need for altered clothes. Some injured soldiers, transported from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, were stuck wearing hospital gowns for months, which made it easy for doctors to access their wounded limbs or prosthetics, but also served as a constant, depressing reminder to the soldiers of their conditions. What they needed was clothing that was both convenient and dignified.
"[Michael] said to me, â€˜Mom, you should sew for them,'" Dosedel recalls.
Three years later, the mission inspired by those words is a huge success. Dosedel started Sew Much Comfort, an association of more than 1,000 seamstresses across the country who volunteer their time and talents to make adaptive clothing for wounded soldiers. Thanks to office space in Beavercreek that was donated to aid in her efforts, Dosedel no longer has to have her network of seamstresses mail items to her home before she sends them off to clinics around the country. That's good news, considering that last year alone, Sew Much Comfort shipped more than 16,000 articles of clothing to injured veterans - an effort that recently earned Dosedel recognition at a White House ceremony.
The goal, Dosedel says, is to provide wounded soldiers with outfits that "feel comfortable and look normal." To that end, much of Sew Much Comfort's clothing includes Velcro sewn into the outside seams of shirts and pants for easy removal and dressing.
For Dosedel, the movement sparked by her son's words simply puts her and other seamstresses' skills to use in a way that is "beautifully non-political and practical."
For more information on Sew Much Comfort, call 937/426-6730 or visit www.sewmuchcomfort.org.