Pillows for Patriots: Credit union hosts military benefit Oct. 18


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:34 pm on Friday, October 12, 2012

International Credit Union Day is Thursday.

Jenny Bennet, the branch supervisor of Astera Credit Union located inside the Greenville Wal-Mart, wanted to do something meaningful for the community as part of the day’s festivities.

As Bennett helped plan the credit union’s “pajama party” theme, she became aware of a group called Pillows for Patriots, which purchases and ships specially made pillows for troops deployed or about to be deployed overseas.

“Did you know that our military does not furnish pillows or blankets to our soldiers?” Bennet said. “I know several military families in the area and was not aware until just a short time ago that our soldiers are not issued pillows and blankets as part of their supply kit when being deployed overseas. It seemed to me that this was a basic comfort we all take for granted. I thought this would be a perfect fit for us to become involved.”

Astera Credit Union will be doing a drive all day Thursday to collect cash donations to purchase pillows for the Pillows for Patriots organization. Donations other than cash cannot be accepted due to shipping restrictions.

“We can purchase and ship 25 pillows for every $90 we collect during this one day only fundraising effort,” Bennett said. “These are travel sized pillows, perfect for military backpacks, and covered in a special camouflage colored material.”

Jon and Nikki Brandt of Lowell have a son, Taylor, 23, who has been serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan since June. Taylor Brandt is a 2007 graduate of Greenville High School.

“Right now it’s getting to be wintertime over there and temperatures are getting very cold,” Jon Brandt said. “They do get snow and rain.  They’ve had enemy contact every time they’ve left the base. They’re under heavy stress. We send them blankets and anything else we can send. A little comfort from home goes a long way.”

State Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, and State Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, plan on making an appearance at Astera Credit Union on Thursday to help collect donations for troops.

“I strongly believe in this cause and believe that the entire Montcalm County and surrounding areas would attend and donate if they were made aware of this,” Bennet said. “Since opening the Greenville branch of Astera Credit Union, we have tried to look for ways to become involved in and make a difference in our community.”

Call Astera Credit Union at 1-800-323-0048 for more information.

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