Local Veteran Is Giving Special Gifts to Troops This Holiday

A former soldier in Thomas County wants to make sure troops heading back to Iraq in January get support, so he says he'll be giving the troops a useful gift this holiday season.

Matthew Koewn is an assistant at Thomas County High School by day and a student at Thomas University by night, a drastic change from his previous years.

He was with U.S. Forces March 20, 2003, the day the U.S. went into Iraq. He returned home early when injured during a rocket propelled grenade explosion.

"I know a lot of people don't agree with it and I can understand it too. It's always important to not forget to support the troops. That’s what it's all about,” Keown explains.

The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient is supporting his platoon mates by raising money to send what he learned is a very useful item in desert combat, a bandana.

We have one of the bandanas that's actually going to be sent to troops in January. It can be used for many different things from guarding your face in a sand storm to actually wiping sweat off your face when heat rises.

Keown has already raised enough money to get 400 bandanas but he wants enough funds to give a bandana to each soldier leaving Fort Stewart in January. That means about 15,000 total.

"They can pretty much use it for whatever they want to and of course it has the prayer on it so it's kind of like a security blanket too. I guess a comfort item if that's what they want it for,” Keown adds.

But the main message sent with these bandanas is “We Support You.”