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In honor of Veterans Day, FPL employee sends warmth to our troops overseas

Florida Power and Light employee, Deborah Herron, has a direct connection to the military. Her son-in-law served our country in Iraq, from listening to his stories, she learned how important it was for troops to receive encouragement from home in order to keep up morale.

With her skills as a knitter and the knowledge that troops were in need of warmth during the cold months, Deborah created Operation Warm & Fuzzy, a volunteer campaign to knit helmet liners for service members. The helmet liners are given to Forgotten Soldiers Outreach (FSO), a nonprofit organization that sends care packages and letters of encouragement to troops who are deployed overseas.

"I started Operation Warm & Fuzzy because I felt that knitting helmet liners for some of our troops was a way of showing them that people back home are thinking of them and care about them. It was a small gesture which said 'thank you' for all you've done and that you weren't forgotten," Deborah noted. "It was easy to find other volunteer knitters who felt the same way, so before long, I had a great group of knitters and a mountain of liners!"

Each year, Deborah coordinates volunteers, including training new knitters, and fundraising for Operation Warm & Fuzzy. In 2012, she recruited 36 NextEra Energy volunteers to help with the effort. On Oct. 17, Deborah delivered 271 helmet liners to FSO so they could be included in the holiday care packages. In total, the efforts of the Operation Warm & Fuzzy volunteers have resulted in 440 helmet liners sent to troops over the past two years.

Deborah also encourages her employee volunteers to log their volunteer hours for Dollars for Doers grants. So far this year, 21 of the volunteers have logged their hours resulting in $5,700 for FSO.

"Volunteering makes me feel good. I volunteer to extend a helping hand to those who need it," Deborah added. "Volunteering is such an easy way to give back to the community. All it takes is your time and compassion. Determine your strengths and then find an organization where you can put those strengths to good use. There are so many organizations that need our help."

To learn more about Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, visit http://www.forgottensoldiers.org/

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