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Care packages as a calling: One mother's Memorial Day mission

Dorine Kenney started the Jacob's Light Foundation after her son was killed. The charity helps keep soldiers serving in harm's way stocked with supplies and warm wishes from home.

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Dorine Kenney was already sending care packages to her son’s buddies in Iraq after he told her some soldiers weren’t receiving anything at mail call. But when a roadside bomb killed Jacob months later in 2003, the tragedy took Ms. Kenney’s sense of duty to a new level.

The holistic minister and Long Island mom needed something to latch onto in the void left by the passing of her only child. She decided the one thing she could do was help make a difference for all the troops who weren’t fortunate enough to get care packages from home.

“It was my survival of my son’s death for me,” she says. “For a few years, all I could do is work and bump into walls. Then it became my life.”

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Her son, Jacob Fletcher, was an Army specialist who wanted to join the military early on, filling out enlistment cards he found in magazines. His mother remembers receiving phone calls from Army recruiters asking for “Private Jacob Fletcher,” but she told them to call back in 10 years. Her son was only 8.
After 9/11, Mr. Fletcher went to basic training in Georgia and then deployed to Iraq for the invasion in March 2003.

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