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Operation Flip Flops: Oakwood Goodwill collects footwear for wounded soldiers

POSTED: July 30, 2012 11:30 p.m.

Oakwood’s Goodwill Career Center is collecting flip-flops to offer better footing for wounded U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The local Goodwill is joining efforts to support Operation Flip Flops, an organization aimed at offering footwear to wounded soldiers recovering in Afghanistan.

Medical staff at one military hospital report a shortage of footwear for soldiers recovering from injuries.

The effort was started by Brenda Frye, of South Carolina.

Frye’s daughter, Georgina Floyd, is stationed at a hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan. There she noticed a lot of soldiers with mismatched footwear or going barefoot. According to Frye’s website, www.operationflipflop.com, wounded soldiers receive care packages from the Red Cross that provide clothing. However, those packages don’t normally include footwear.

“They scramble to get whatever they can find,” said Adrianna Watkins, a local organizer for Operation Flip Flops. “If they don’t find anything, they go barefoot.”

And that’s where Operation Flip Flops comes in. Supporters collect adult-sized sandals and ship them to Bagram to make sure the wounded soldiers have something on their feet at the hospital and for their trips home.

Watkins, who works for Goodwill of North Georgia, heard about the efforts from her brother, Eric Colon. Colon is a military doctor in Afghanistan and a colleague of Floyd’s.

Watkins knew the cause must be important, she said, when her brother pointed her to look into Operation Flip Flops.

“He’s not one to just recommend anything,” said Watkins.

Watkins and her co-workers arranged to get flip-flop collections started at North Georgia’s Goodwill career centers last week. Originally, the plan was just for Goodwill employees to participate. But as news spread, members of the community have also gotten into the action.

“If other people want to drop off stuff, that’s more than welcome,” Watkins said.

Locally, residents can donate new, adult-sized flip-flops to the Goodwill Career Center in Oakwood until Wednesday. Instructions to Operation Flip Flops can also be found at the organization’s website.

“Don’t forget the small sizes,” Watkins said, pointing out that the overseas military hospital also treats female soldiers with smaller feet.


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