Web of Support creator to be honored
Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City resident P.J. Degross plans to take the attention she receives today and spread it around.
Degross, who created the Web of Support Soldier Adoption Program, has invited members of other military support groups to the Board of Supervisors meeting, where she will be honored for her volunteer efforts to help soldiers stationed abroad and their loved ones.
The idea is to ensure others receive recognition for like-minded efforts, she said.
“Any way to bring attention to the soldiers,” she said.
She has inspired hundreds of people to adopt men and women in uniform, as well as draw in volunteers and businesses who provide time, money and supplies. And it all evolved during the past couple of years, after she began organizing events where citizens could show their support for U.S. troops.
Mailing care packages expanded into an effort that takes up as many hours as full-time job, Degross said.
Though she has lost count of the number of boxes of cookies, coffee, suntan lotion and other small comfort items she has mailed overseas, offering emotional support to the soldiers and their loved ones also is important, she said.
“It’s about connecting with the families,” she said. “We become involved in their lives.”
And that’s why volunteers are asked to “adopt” soldiers, not just send them a few goodies.
There’s a local family who invited a soldier they adopted to bring his family and spend three or four days here with them.
This is the type of news she loves to hear, she said.
She participated in an event at the Army Aviation Support Facility north of Stead last month where she and members of several area support groups spent a weekend getting to know members of the 93rd Medium Transport Company of the Nevada National Guard.
She and representatives of Blue Star Moms, Soldiers’ Angels and United We Serve signed up soldiers for those programs.
The volunteers also gave out a lot of kind words and hugs.
Degross also took down a long list of names and telephone numbers from the soldiers who wanted her to call mothers, wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends, and simply tell them things were going to be OK.
She has a lot of pictures of soldiers she met during the weekend.
As she showed each one she said, “Look at that face.” And after finishing with the photographs she said, “People ask ‘why do you do this?’ Just look at these faces.”
Degross also plans to use the attention she receives today to garner more interest in Web of Support.
Perhaps the recognition will entice more volunteers, or cause a few more business owners to donate to the cause.
She doesn’t take the appreciation for granted. She has received ample thanks and gratitude from soldiers and their families and knows her efforts are valued.
Degross plans to start holding regular monthly events to raise funds and add to the number of adopters and volunteers.
For details, call 691-7332 or visit Pjdahling@aol.com.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
You can help
To become involved with Web of Support, call 691-7332 or e-mail to Pjdahling@aol.com. Visit Webofsupport.com to learn more about the soldier adoption program.
If You Go
What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting
When: 8:30 a.m. today
Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.