10/19/09 — Project will get bandanas, Psalm 91, to those serving

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Project will get bandanas, Psalm 91, to those serving

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 19, 2009 1:47 PM

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Inez Owens, organizer for the local project, "Operation Bandanas," holds up a camouflage bandana, which features a copy of Psalm 91 inscribed on it. She hopes to send as many as possible to troops overseas.

Inez Owens of Goldsboro wanted to find a way to show support for the military, especially those on the battlefield.

So when she learned about "Operation Bandanas" -- begun in Fayetteville in 2006 to provide Fort Bragg soldiers with Psalm 91 bandanas -- she set out to do the same for Seymour Johnson.

Beyond the typical care packages, it is a tangible way of lending prayer support, she said.

"They can't take the Bibles out in the field, but they can take it in their pockets, in their helmets, in their boots," she said of the message-imprinted bandanas. "It's God's word and I think it's armor for God's protection. That's the way it was meant to be. I'm just real excited about it."

Mrs. Owens contacted Mary Gray, executive director of Operation Bandanas, Yvonne Deatherage, Women's Missionary Union director for Neuse Baptist Association, and John Choi, base chaplain, about the project.

She has also made it her mission to visit area churches and groups, sharing the message and encouraging participation in the effort.

"We really wanted to start as soon as possible, getting churches involved and also the Neuse Association," she said, adding that youth groups, Scouts and others can also take part.

The goal is to place a camouflage bandana in the hands of all deployed men and women, Mrs. Owens said.

Psalm 91, known as the Soldier's Psalm, contains the words Mrs. Gray shared with her own two sons and prayed over them as they made multiple trips to the war zones.

"(The bandanas) were given to provide comfort, encouragement, peace and strength through God's word," Mrs. Owens said. They are also visible reminders for the military to see and hold in their hands the support and appreciation from people they are in battle to protect, she said.

While the initial intent is to target the deployed, Mrs. Owens said those stationed at the base and even veterans can also be recipients of the effort.

"We want to cover all of them," she said. "Our main goal now is to get them to Chaplain Choi and he will get them to Bagram Air Force Base."

On the battlefields, especially in desert countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, the bandanas also serve a practical purpose, Mrs. Owens said.

"They can use it to cover their face from the sand and dust, as a sweat rag or a tourniquet," she said. "But to me, it's letting them know that we love them and our churches and people are behind them 100 percent."

Three dollars covers the cost of a kit, which includes a bandana and information card.

Individual churches can also put a personal note on the back of the cards, but those doing so will have to pay postage to send the kits themselves, Mrs. Owens said.

For more information on the program, visit www.operationbandanas.org. To obtain an order form, contact Mrs. Owens at 738-1209 or oiowens@bellsouth.net, or Mrs. Deatherage at 252-560-4073 or yvonne@getyvonne.com.

Checks, made payable to Operation Bandanas, can be mailed to Yvonne Deatherage, P.O. Box 181, Pink Hill, N.C. 28572.