Pitt County nonprofit uses beloved fallen soldier’s sacrifice as Memorial Day motivation

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 11:48 PM EDT
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PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -In the back corner of a self-storage facility in Greenville are doors rolled up on three units full of special items dear to a soldier’s heart.

“When I get an opportunity to tell somebody about what she (Barbara Whitehead) does, I do,” said Kathy Moore, Gold Star mother.

NC Support Our Troops had to cram dozens of boxes and bins into the confining space after heavy rain uprooted the nonprofit out of its main storage center in Ayden.

Director Barbara Whitehead says the rental units cost $700.00 a month.

“For that, we could cover postage for at least two weeks,” Whitehead said. “That’s a huge hit for us.”

Whitehead says looking at pictures of fallen soldiers like Army Corporal Ryan Russell, who died along with two fellow soldiers when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit, has helped reiterate the mission.

Moore says her son loved being deployed in Iraq but might’ve loved seeing beef jerky inside his care packages more.

“He had to get out and patrol because he was a combat medic,” Moore said. “When he got back and went to get his beef jerky, the bag was almost empty. He was livid.”

Moore says she and Whitehead met 17 years ago after Russell wrote his mother asking for beloved hometown desirables.

Whitehead says Moore being a Gold Star mother, has given her the extra push to continue serving our troops even though the crisis continues for her nonprofit.

“Their parents are always in my heart,” Whitehead said. “Their mothers, fathers, wives and now children.”

Whitehead says flooding repairs at NC Support Our Troops main storage center are happening slowly, but surely.

She hopes they’ll be back in the building by early July but says either way things will work out because just like our fallen soldiers, she too believes in making selfless sacrifices needed to push forward.

Moore says while you’re enjoying the holiday weekend with good fun, take a second to think about parents like herself whose child made your freedom possible.