INITIATIVE: Utah Moms Packing Supplies and Love for Trip to Iraq

ABC News
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 20:00
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Next week a small group of Utah women will travel to Iraq to take supplies to the women and children of the war torn country. And the women going to Iraq have one thing in common - they have lost sons in the war there.

ABC 4's Don Hudson recently caught up with one of the mom's at a humanitarian workshop. That's where Colleen Parkin not only helped pack supplies, but also tried her hand at a few of the projects.

"Am I going to do the bow backwards?" "How come yours looks so good and mine doesn't?" "How do I cut this?" Collen Parkin asked a lot of questions when we found her making dolls for the girls of Iraq. But when we talked about her upcoming trip to Iraq and why she was going she had all the answers. "I'm taking my passion. My love for the children and the women."

Parkin is planning a trip to Iraq to honor her son, Marine Corporal Matthew Smith, who was killed in during the war in 2005. He lost his life along with 30 other servicemen when their helicopter crashed. Parkin said her son used to talk about the women and children of Iraq and what he hoped he and other members of the military could give them. "He saw that they needed the freedom that we have. He said he had never seen poverty like that before and he wanted more for them." And now Parkin is planning on helping her son accomplish that goal. "I feel like I am going there to help my Matthew say, Mom, I'm proud of you cause your going there. And they'll see you smile and be crazy and wear your stupid pink boots. Because they need to see laughter and I'm going to take laughter there."

As part of that trip - Colleen and three other Utah mothers who have lost sons in the war - are making sure tons of supplies, being put together by dozens of people at an LDS Chapel in American Fork, get delivered. In all, five 40 foot long crates of goods - made or boxed during weekly humanitarian gathers at the chapel - will be sent to Iraq. This was Parkin's first visit to the weekly event and she was impressed. "Seeing the men and women here is overwhelming. And I am taking all kinds of pictures cause I want to show them (women of Iraq) what we are doing." There are hygiene kits, blankets, towels, scarfs, diapers and even so called 'chemo caps' - hand made hats for the women in Iraq who are undergoing chemotherapy and have lost their hair.

And just as important as the supplies - Colleen says she is packing her son's love for the people. "He wanted them to have the life he had as a child growing up. Happy and not scared to walk out the front door." No doubt the women and children of Iraq will feel Colleen's love and the love of a soldier who didn't get the chance to finish his mission.

For more information about Colleen and the other Utah moms - go to Utah Moms in Iraq on Facebook

To donate: Wells Fargo Bank
American Gold Star Mothers of Utah
American Gold Star Mothers of Utah
P.O. Box 711713, SLC, UT. 84171

For more information on Colleen fund raising parachute material wristbands email her at

For more on her son - go to: