Shortly after Lisa Freeman's son, Matthew, was killed in action nine days after being deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, she established the Matthew Freeman Project, a nonprofit that provides school supplies for kids in war-torn countries and gives scholarships to siblings of deceased soldiers. But Lisa recently added a new aspect to her organization: Turning fallen servicemen's uniforms into teddy bears as a means to help comfort children who have lost family members in combat. The result? Beautifully made stuffed animals that, hopefully, will offer tangible comfort to those mourning their loved ones.
The concept of creating a teddy bear or a blanket out of a late loved one's clothing isn't unheard of. Numerous companies offer similar services, turning old t-shirts into quilts, or a favorite pair of jeans into a stuffed animal. But there's something extra special about a serviceman or woman's uniform being transformed into something one can cuddle with and take around with them. Not only is it a physical reminder of the person being mourned, it's a physical reminder of what that person believed in, fought for, and their heroic mission in life.
This is such a truly touching and wonderful project. And hopefully, in some way, it's cathartic for Lisa to make these bears.
If you're interested in having a "Matthew Bear" made for your child, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the names of your children, their relationship to the fallen service member, and the address they will be sent to. You will need to supply name of the fallen service member and the death certificate. For more information, visit FreemanProject.org.
What do you think of turning a deceased loved one's clothing or uniform into a teddy bear or blanket?
Image via The Matthew Freeman Project/Facebook