Fishers mom helps collect Hawaiian shirts for deployed soldiers: ‘They were like kids at Christmas’

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FISHERS, Ind. - Serving the men and women who serve our country is the mission for a Fishers mom. She recently partnered up with a unique group in South Carolina and their idea has gone viral.

You know that Hawaiian shirt in the back of your closet? Admit it, we all have one. Well, that festive shirt is helping soldiers overseas take a break and smile from their very demanding role.

It’s a special bond between two moms who have never met in person.

Rachel Beaupre lives in Fishers. Her son is on his first deployment, and she wanted to find a way to support him and his troop while he was gone.

“I kind of thought of bubbles, I thought of Nerf guns. I already thought of games,” explained Beaupre.

Beaupre asked around for other ideas until she got connected with Gwen Pollard, a mom from South Carolina, who’s been on a mission to send some aloha spirit overseas.

“People donated the 300 really quickly, and I had so many left over, I thought I would send whatever was left over, I would send to another troop,” said Pollard.

Pollard created the group Hawaiian Shirts for Deployed Soldiers after her own son was deployed. She was shocked on how quickly her idea spread. Pollard has now collected almost 12,000 shirts from all over the country. She says the waiting list is about two months long.

“I’ll go find every Hawaiian shirt I can possibly find,” said Beaupre.

All different colors and prints, each Hawaiian shirt is also sent with a note of encouragement. Beaupre has the pictures and videos from when her son's troop received their shirts. She says the reactions made her want to get involved and help other deployed soldiers.

“They were like kids at Christmas! They were seriously going through the shirts and digging through all excited like, 'Oh, I’m going to wear this one! This is going to be my new wardrobe.' They were so funny with it, and then they had a little luau party that night, play some games, hang out and cut loose,” said Beaupre.

The Hawaiian shirts gave these soldiers a reason to smile, while giving their moms a sense of relief.

Pollard added, “I’ll get a note from a soldier or the donations or even the pictures, and it just makes me want to keep going.”

If you have some Hawaiian shirts in your closet that you’d like to donate to Hawaiian Shirts for Deployed Soldiers, there are many ways to donate:

You can send shirts directly to South Carolina:

217 High Ridge Court

Easley, South Carolina 29642

Kindness Crusaders is collecting shirts in Hamilton County:

15112 Stars Pride Court

Carmel, Indiana 46032

You can also send shirts to a Fishers location:

8815 E. 146th Street

Fishers, Indiana 46038

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