Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon got started literally by accident. About two weeks after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Mary-Edna Krutchkoff, a school nurse at the time, had her parked car hit in the school parking lot by the school’s female custodian. Mary-Edna called her husband Alan at work at Unilever Bestfoods in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and explained there was serious damage to her car. “Couldn’t she see your car in the parking lot?” he asked, somewhat angrily. “She had a lot on her mind,” Mary-Edna replied, who then went on to say that the woman’s son-in-law had just deployed to Iraq. “Oh,” was Alan’s remark, whose emotion changed from anger to empathy. He then contacted a buddy at work, Holmes Brady and said, “Let’s adopt this kid. He’s a sergeant in the 82d Airborne.”
Turns out that Holmes’ dad was in the 82d during World War II. So there was an instant connection. The two men went to the company store and started buying goodies for the young sergeant. And the word spread amongst their fellow employees that they were supporting a deployed infantryman. Soon after, others came to them with loved ones who were serving. And teammates offered to help support the mission by donating $20 bills. Within a few months, there were about 25 folks supporting three Marines and the original “Adoptee.” Krutchkoff said, “We’re the size of a small platoon. Let’s call ourselves the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon.” And that’s how the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon was formed. 19 years later, it’s more active than ever.