Locally organized Operation Flip Flops seeks flip-flops for injured soldiers in Afghanistan
When 21-year-old Air Force medic Georgina Walton-Floyd called her mother in Moncks Corner from Afghanistan last week, she had an unexpected request.
Want to help?
People are asked to donate at least one pair of flip-flops, preferably black, of any size, which will be provided to injured soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
Businesses or churches that would like to house a drop box for flip-flops can contact Brenda Frye at operationflipflops2012 @gmail.com or www.facebook.com/OperationFlipFlops.
Those who want to mail flip-flops can send them to Operation Flip Flops, c/o Brenda Frye, 407 Early Morning Drive, Moncks Corner, SC 29461.
Walton-Floyd wanted flip-flops. Lots of them.
While injured soldiers get care packages, those packages — surprisingly — don’t include flip-flops or shower shoes. Hospital staffers give them what’s on hand, or the troops go barefoot. So Walton-Floyd asked her mother, Brenda Frye, to organize an event for donations.
That was all the spark that Frye, who organized Operation Flip Flops, and friends needed to rally around the cause.
“I thought here she has all these traumas coming in, and she’s having to scramble for flip-flops,” Frye said. “It breaks my heart to think about it.”
It doesn’t hurt either that Frye’s husband, Olin Frye, is working as a contractor with Science Application International Corp., which installs electronics in MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles. Friends and colleagues at SAIC, which has an office at SPAWAR, are all in.
Becky Lombardo, whose husband works at SAIC and who is good friends with Frye, was on her way to Old Navy and Walmart on Wednesday afternoon to snap up a few dozen flip-flops.
Lombardo planned to leave drop boxes at SAIC, in addition to boxes that Frye has located at Flip Side Salon in Moncks Corner and Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union in Goose Creek.
Karen Hightower, who works at SAIC and shares a passion for motorcycle riding with Frye, said she is thinking about organizing a ride, similar to the toy runs for Christmas, to collect flip-flops and raise money to ship them to Afghanistan.
“If this is our little part of what we can do to help, then I’m going to be at the front of the line,” Hightower said.
The effort, however, is not isolated to the Charleston area.
Tapping into the power of social media, notably via Facebook, Frye is getting responses from across the country, including a hospital in Oklahoma.
“It (Operation Flip Flops) blew up within an hour of getting the word out,” Frye said.