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Nevada soldiers need families to adopt them

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A Nevada National Guard unit that recently arrived in Iraq is in need of care packages, said P.J. Degross, founder of Web of Support.

“Because of the fact that this group is from Nevada I think it would be really great if Nevada people adopted Nevada soldiers,” said Degross, whose grassroots organizations run out of her Carson City house has gained national recognition.

Founded in 2004, Web of Support came about after Degross began a pen-pal relationship with a military blogger named Sgt. Chris Missick. From there, the two became fast friends, and Degross would send Missick and his comrades gifts.

When another soldier, Staff Sgt. Norris Galatas, was injured in an IED attack, Degross said she called Walter Reed Army Hospital and asked Galatas what she could do for him, and he asked her to “take care of my guys.”

Degross took on the combat engineer unit of 150 and from there the idea blossomed into Web of Support, in which Degross matches soldiers with families who are willing to provide the creature comforts of home via a care package of food, toiletries and entertainment.

Since its inception, Degross has found families to adopt 1,000 servicemembers.

Among those who’ve volunteered are a Hollywood producer, Glad bags out of New Jersey and Harley-Davidson in Louisiana.

“Even though it’s Carson-City based and I run it out of my home, it’s just crazy what’s going out of there. This thing has gone national,” she said.

Staff Sgt. Erik Studenicka, public affairs specialist with the Nevada Army National Guard, confirmed that the 72nd Military Police Unit out of Henderson will be deployed for at least a year.

The group left in October, and after a short stint home over the holidays, arrived in Iraq at the end of last month, he said. Studenicka noted that though the majority of the soldiers are from Southern Nevada, there are at least a dozen Northern Nevadans serving with the unit. Among those is a soldier from Carson City and another from South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

To volunteer with Web of Support, visit webofsupport.com or write to Degross at PJdahling@aol.com.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.