Lana Poole has a daughter and a nephew in Iraq. They'll receive Christmas stockings from Poole. So will 26 other soldiers who Poole figuratively adopted. Poole knows each one by name and where they're from. She pointed to a picture and pointed, " Private First Class Lewis Barrios and this is my daughter, Jessica, and this is Rob from Pennsylvania and he's a scout and this is Jeremy. He's from Illinois."
The first soldiers without moms that Poole met were at Fort Hood where she visited her daughter almost weekly. They gravitated to her. Poole recalled, " I was the only mother that came at all for 7 weeks." When it was time to see her daughter off to Iraq, Poole was surrogate mom to others on the bus. Poole said, " I was the only person there to see them off and last person to hug 'em, kiss 'em and run down the street 'til the bus was out of sight."
Now that her 'children' are in Iraq, Poole is learning that there are many soldiers missing a mother's touch. Poole said, " It's just absolutely unacceptable for any soldier over there not to receive something for the holiday, something. A card, a letter, something. I find that unacceptable."
Poole is organizing a non profit agency called Mothers For Soldiers In Need. Long after the Christmas stockings are filled, Poole wants the organization to continue providing a mother's love, even if it means saying goodbye forever. With a motherly look at a soldier's photograph she said, " Michael Baloga. I lost him to an IED in July."
Poole is counting the days when her daughter and other adopted kids return to the states this spring. You can bet, she'll be there to greet them. " Every time that one of them comes back, I will be in Fort Hood." Mothers For Soldiers In Need. A simple concept that only a mother could think of.