Baby shower for military moms builds morale

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MASCOUTAH, IL (KTVI)-- A Missouri based charity that reaches out to young military wives who are expecting a child marked its 40th baby shower Tuesday at Scott Air Force base in Mascoutah, IL.  'Operation Shower' combines donations from corporations and handmade items to provide 'the kind of shower your best friend would give you,' in the words of founder LeAnn Morrissey of Clayton, MO.

The expecting moms-to-be or those with recently born babies are honored because their spouses will soon be deployed, are already on duty overseas or are part of a Wounded Warrior unit.  Forty women from the St. Louis area including some active duty military members were given a giant baby shower at the Scott AFB Officers Club.

Gifts ranged from designer diaper bags donated by corporate sponsor Petunia Pickle Bottom (a firm that makes baby clothes and accessories), Cardinal baseball tickets for 2014 and Cardinal baby gear and  nursing pillows to a grand prize of a stroller-car seat combo.

'One of our main goals at Operation Shower is to give other people the opportunity to say thank you to military families,' explained Morrissey who started the not-for-profit in her basement six years ago.  She and a small staff plus volunteers put on the baby showers across the country.  So far she said they have touched the lives of 1700 military families.

Scott AFB Installation Commander Col. Kyle Kremer praised the organization for contributing to the military`s effort to maintain a family atmosphere for members.  'It`s a wonderful support,' he said and 'coincides with what`s going on with the government shutdown by providing that extra relief during incredibly challenging times and unknowns.'

Alisha Stockman is managing her pregnancy and caring for an 18 month old daughter while her husband, Staff Sgt .Cody Stockman is on a mission overseas.
'It`s important to see that other people care,' she said as she choked back a tear.  'It`s nice to see that other people really do care and to have that support when your backbone is not here,' she added.

The Air Force`s Airman and Family Readiness Center is there to help as well.  'I just moved into a brand new house off baseand they were all there to help me move even though my husband is not here to help me, that support was still there,' Mrs. Stockman said.

Airman 1st Class Maelynn Staton is expecting her first baby and her husband  Staff Sgt. Jesse Staton is also deployed.  She marveled at the box of presents given to her during the shower.  'It`s so exciting; what they do is wonderful.  I`ve kind of been holding back tears,' she said with a smile.
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