‘Heads At Ease’ project for U.S. military receives local support

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Crewmembers on the USS Shoup have been among the recipients of Heads of Ease pillowcases, which provide a touch of home. Photo submitted.

An article in a Country Woman magazine caught Donna Murphy’s eye one day as she read the publication.

“It was about a group that made pillowcases for troops,” said Murphy. “I didn’t think much about it at first, then the thought occurred to me that we have a lot of extra fabric from our own projects.” Murphy said she and her mom, Pauline Murphy, are both quilters, and her cousins, Linda Hewlett and Nancy Cadmus, both sew.

“We always have more fabric than we can use, so we’re sort of ‘fabric collectors,’ and it’s perfectly good, so I thought it might be nice to take part in the project,” Murphy said.

Murphy contacted Sue and Ray Lamberson, the founders of the Heads At Ease group, that has provided thousands of pillowcases — which the government does not supply for some reason — to individuals serving in the armed services. A newsletter for the group notes that more than 28,306 of the pillowcases have been sent to troops since June 2008.

Murphy said that every Friday since January, her mom and cousins have gathered at her house to work on the pillowcases.

“This has just been awesome for us and to be able to use our fabrics for this feel-good project,” she said. “We have three sewing machines and keep two ironing boards going. We’re women so we can multitask.” The women have made more than 300 pillowcases so far, and may have approximately 400 as they wind down their project.

“The group sent us information on dimensions for the pillowcases as well as where to ship them and we’re responsible for everything, from boxing them up to paying the postage,” said Murphy. “We use flat rate postal boxes and it goes to an APO address.”

The women are now looking for letters that could be included with the pillowcases and they’re asking the public for help.

“The Heads At Ease newsletter mentions how the troops enjoy getting letters from home along with their pillowcases,” said Murphy. “We’re not starting a pen-pal project, where people include return addresses, but we were thinking kids could draw pictures, and people could write notes of encouragement and ‘thinking of you’ notes, and we’ll find room for them in the boxes.”

Hewlett works at Tecumseh City Hall in the Economic Development Department. She is providing a box in the hallway near the Council Chambers to drop off letters of those who wish to participate. The deadline for dropping off letters will be Wednesday, June 5.

The Heads At Ease group gets mail from recipients expressing thoughts such as those from a ship commander who wrote, “It wasn’t just the pillowcases, which were amazing, it was the notes, the cards and the sheer outpouring of love for those young men and women who are essentially strangers to you and those who did this great deed.”

The recurring theme is that the pillowcases provide a gift of comfort from home made possible through strangers who care. Photographs shared by Heads At Ease show a wide variety of colors and themes on fabric used.

“For ours, we had Christmas fabric and snowflakes, and a lot of green because that was Nancy’s favorite color,” said Murphy. “It’s all cotton fabric and we had a little bit of everything.”

The Britton American Legion Auxiliary has also stepped forward to help with the shipping costs for the project.




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