Parents of Fallen Marine Donate Nearly 330,000 Pairs of Socks to Deployed Marines
Chances are, when Marines put on their boots, there’s a pair of socks donated from Jim and Carla Hogan inside.
Over the course of nearly three years, the couple has donated over a quarter million pairs of socks — nearly 330,000 to be exact — mostly to deployed Marines in Afghanistan. Their inspiration to donate began after their son, Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, was killed in the line of duty by an IED explosion in Nawa, Afghanistan. His comrades from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment comforted the Hogans as they mourned the loss of their son, which in turn inspired the family to help their son’s friends during their deployment.
After their son’s death, the couple asked their son’s fellow soldiers what they needed in return for their compassion and understanding. Of all things, they needed socks. While they may seem like a simple piece of gear, socks are essential. For Marines stationed in far-off posts, they may be difficult to come by, especially in particular sizes.
The Hogans happily obliged, purchasing a shipment of socks at a local department store and sending them off to their son’s platoon. Shortly after, news of the donation quickly spread amongst other Marines, and requests for more socks began arriving at the couples’ home in San Clemente, California.
The Hogans continued purchasing thousands of socks and their donation efforts continued to grow. Soon, they formed the non-profit charity Socks for Heroes, and began hosting fundraising events in order to support their mission. They were able to make deals with hosiery companies, buying pairs of regulation socks for as little as $0.56 a pair. Soon, community support began pouring in, and the Hogans partnered with a local small businessman specializing in coordinating sending large shipments to combat zones.
Soon, the Hogans began including blankets, long underwear, energy drinks and other items in their care packages to troops on the front line. These everyday items, which are easily taken for granted, can make all the difference to troops, offering comfort and a sense of home during their deployment. At any given time throughout their donation efforts, the Hogans help support two battalions, in addition to several other smaller units and even individual soldiers. In September, they were honored by the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton for their generosity.
The war in Afghanistan is slowly winding down. After hundreds of thousands of sock donations, the Hogans ceremoniously donated their last case to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, the very last unit scheduled to leave Afghanistan.
However, the Hogans’ commitment to supporting the military personnel and their families doesn’t end with the war in Afghanistan. Carla Hogan plans on continuing their charitable efforts by creating a clearing house for military spouses, where they can receive career training, find careers that allow them to work remotely, or learn ways to start their own businesses from home. This allows them to maintain their career when their Marine spouse receives their permanent change of station.
Those looking to donate or show their support for military families in veterans in their area are encouraged to contact their local veteran charity or outreach center. There are several ways of giving back, and each way makes difference.