Local/State

Person of the Week: Wesley Bauguess

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wesley Bauguess heads up the Wounded Warrior Committee - a group of volunteers who make special care packages for hospitalized paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd airborne division.

"By the time they get to Walter Reid and Womack, they have nothing and there are other organizations that provide wonderful things as well and we try not to duplicate those, but what we can do that's unique is we give items that have the 82nd patch on them and I think that means an awful lot to them," she explained.

The group sends out things like backpacks full of comfort items that serve a purpose - everything from zip-up fleece jackets to breakaway pants.

"They have snaps down the side, which are perfectly functional for the guys with lower body injuries. They're easy on and easy off but they can get access to their wounds," Bauguess explained.

Each item is wrapped with tender loving care. That's important to all the women - but especially Bauguess who's an army widow.

"He deployed in February of '07 with the 4th Brigade in the 82nd and then May 14, 2007, was when he was killed in Pakistan, and naturally we had just everything that comes with that and the months that followed were very tough," she said.

Not only had Bauguess lost her husband and the father of her young children, she'd lost her sense of belonging. A former soldier herself, Bauguess led the family readiness group for her husband's battalion. When he died, she no longer felt she fit in.

"I just realized things have changed and that's not my place anymore," she said.

But Bauguess wouldn't be lost for long. A few months later, she was asked to create the Wounded Warrior Committee.

"She said 'Take some time to think about it,' and I said 'I don't need any time. That's it.' That's what I wanted: To still be involved in this Army life, but I didn't know how and this was perfect," she said.

Now, Bauguess invites other army wives and widows to join her - knowing that by reaching out to help wounded soldiers, it might heal their wounds as well.

"Just in talking to some of them, I think it means as much to them as it does to me to still be able to give to this division, give to these paratroopers that we love so much," she said.

Bauguess and other members of the Wounded Warrior Committee hand deliver the backpacks to injured paratroopers at Womack, Walter Reed and Brook Army Medical Centers.

They rely on donations to buy their supplies. If you'd like to learn more or help out, send an email to: woundedwarriorcommittee82@yahoo.com

Click here to nominate a Person of the Week

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