FAIR LAWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A car accident back in 2003 inspired a New Jersey couple to help support our troops both overseas and when they return back home.
Mary-Edna and Alan Krutchkoff founded the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, a non-profit organization supporting active members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Adopt-a-Solder Platoon is an all-volunteer public charity and has been supporting our troops by sending them quality care packages and helping wounded veterans once they return.
"I was a school nurse back in 2003, we had just invaded Iraq two weeks earlier, my car was in the parking lot when a school custodian backed into my car, she had a lot on her mind; her son-in-law, in the 82nd Airborne, had just been deployed to Iraq," said Mary-Edna Krutchkoff, Vice-President of Wounded Care for Adopt-A-Soldier Platoon.
Coincidentally, her husband Alan Krutchkoff had a friend whose father had also served in the 82nd Airborne during WWII. Right then and there, they decided to "adopt" the young sergeant and send him a care package.
"After a couple of months people were just giving us $20 a month to send out products to soldiers abroad. One day, Alan said we've got about 30 people contributing, we're the size of a small platoon, let's call ourselves the "Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon," never thinking that we would be here in 2019 as a nationally recognized charity," said Krutchkoff.
Their mission to uplift active members and veterans goes beyond their care packages. Through their Operation Wounded Care, the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon provides services and necessities that enable the independence of wounded veterans once they return home.
Services include: specially adaptive vehicles, motorized wheelchairs, recreational activities, financial stipends and other needs veterans may have.
"We don't know any of these people. They are all races, all colors of skin, all genders, from all over the place but they're American and that's what means the most to us; and we're taking care of them," said Alan Krutchkoff, President of Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon.
"It's about letting them know that they are not forgotten. We need them to know that they are cared for and we need them to know that they are valued and their service is valued as well," said Mary-Edna.
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