Veterans Day hero sews pillows for hospital

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES – It started with a simple prayer request at the church Alice Fogg attends.

A family asked for prayers for their son who was serving as an army nurse at a 1,000-bed hospital overseas. At the time, Fogg’s daughter saw a news story

ALICE FOGG of Naples was honored during the Veterans Day ceremony for sewing 1,000 pillows for servicemen. (De Busk Photo)

about three women who had sewn 1,000 pillows for that same hospital where the family friend was stationed ­— Craig Joint Theatre Hospital, located in Afghanistan. At first, her daughter challenged her, saying she doubted her mom could sew 1,000 pillows, Fogg said. All along the way, her daughter and sons have supported Fogg with her project to support the troops. They’ve helped with the cost of materials and shipping expenses. For the Fourth of July, her children pitched in and bought her an electric sewing machine so she could give a break to the pedal-operated Singer sewing machine she used to produce the first 1,000 pillows.

Two years and 3,500 pillows later, on Veterans Day, the American Legion Post No. 155 honored the 83-year-old Naples resident for her continued efforts to sew and send pillows to the hospital — where thankful doctors have been receiving them. Hospital staff use them to elevate injured patients’ arms or legs or feet, and to keep swelling down during recovery.

Following the Veterans’ Day ceremony at the Naples Village Green, everyone met at the American Legion where members presented Fogg with a plaque and a bouquet of flowers, according to Post 155 Commander Cathy Merrill.  Recently, the Legion, which serves Casco, Naples and Raymond, has taken over the shipping costs to continue to send Fogg’s pillows to their destination.

“She’s been doing this for a couple of years — out of her heart, out of kindness. She is supporting our troops with the pillows she sews. That’s what made us think she is our hero,” Merrill said. “She’s my hero.”

“I was never called a hero before,” Fogg said.

However, she has been in the limelight before. Last spring, a Portland-based news channel and a news station from northern Maine interviewed Fogg about her pillow project.

The next thing she knew, people from all over the nation had heard about her, had seen her in her all-season “porch” where her sewing machines are located. Suddenly, monetary donations and fabric started arriving, she said.

“These people didn’t even know me, and they sent donations.  I’ve had a lot of people give me cloth, too. They sent cloth from a lot of different states — even people living in Florida have sent me cloth,” said Fogg.

One day, a husband and wife in their 80s drove from their home in northern New Hampshire to Naples. Unannounced, they pulled up in the Foggs’ driveway. They had been sending $10 donations when they could; and they had decided to meet the woman with the busy sewing machine. Fogg said she and her husband invited the couple to have dinner with them, and they enjoyed a nice evening together.

“It’s amazing, all the people I’ve met, since I started sewing the pillows,” she said.

“And, it keeps me young, too,” she said. When asked how many more pillows she planned to make, she said, “As many as I am able, as long as I am able.”

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