Aloha Shirts Needed

Peggy McGee

Let’s bring a little Aloha spirit to our deployed troops this year. The Green Valley Chapter, Military Officers Association, and the Quail Creek Veterans Golf Association are partnering to support the Team Tucson Hawaiian Shirt Drive from Sept. 1 through 30. If you have any Hawaiian shirts that are just hanging in your closet with no place to go, please consider donating them to help boost the morale of our deployed troops. Shirts for both men and women in all sizes will be accepted, but especially needed are sizes medium, large, and X-large.

The Hawaiian shirt program began in March 2017, when Gwen Pollard’s son was deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky., with the 101st Airborne Division. He came out on base in a Hawaiian shirt, and the soldiers laughed. Some wished they had one, too. He asked his mom to send a few for him and his buddies. They were on a combat mission, and stress levels were high. A silly Hawaiian shirt broke the tension and made them laugh. Gwen knew there were approximately 300 soldiers near her son’s unit, so she began a project to collect a Hawaiian shirt for each of them. Each shirt had a thank you note tucked in the front pocket to let the soldiers know how much they were appreciated. Her social media request went viral. And as they say, the rest is history.

As of June 2023, almost 40,000 Hawaiian shirts have been sent to deployed troops. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen continue to be deployed around the globe, and they all can use a little morale booster.

How does one find a Hawaiian shirt in Arizona if there are none in their closet? Try the White Elephant, Animal League Attic, Goodwill store, or any of the other thrift shops in the local area.

The project organizers will tuck a “Thinking of You” or thank you note in each shirt pocket, sending hugs and love to our deployed soldiers.

Shirts may be dropped off at 2304 E. Madera Plateau Drive, 1481 N. Sage Sparrow Road, and 1908 E. Longspur Place starting on Sept. 1.