MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, Maj. Gen. Larry D. Nicholson, accepted a final donation of socks from Jim and Carla Hogan during a ceremony here, Sept. 12.
The Hogans founded Socks for Heroes following the death of their son in Afghanistan in 2009, as a way to improve the lives of service members deployed in austere environments. Since May 2011, the organization has sent over 330,000 socks to Marines and soldiers in Afghanistan.
The ceremony was a way for the 1st Marine Division to formally recognize and thank the Hogans for their tireless support of 1st Marine Division Marines and sailors.
“I know from time to time you’re recognized for the good contributions you make," said Nicholson. "This time on behalf of the division, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for this great organization that you have built."
Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, from San Clemente, Calif., was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for valorous actions with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment during a route clearing mission in Nawa, Afghanistan.
“Hogan’s extreme act of selflessness saved a Marine's life and allowed the rest of the squad to avoid the full brunt of the fragmentation from the improvised explosive device,” reads his Navy Cross citation.
Hogan, in a final act of courage, saved Marines in his squad, and to honor their son the Hogan family wanted to give back.
Donald’s parents explained that in his letters and phone calls from Afghanistan that socks were the most requested item to be sent in care packages.
“Nawa was an area with a lot of canals,” explained Nicholson. “These Marines would patrol in damp areas and would go through two or three pairs of socks a day.”
It was through this they came up with the idea for “Socks for Heroes”.
Colonel William F. McCullough, Hogan’s former battalion commander and the current commanding officer of 1st Marine Regiment had special parting words for the Hogans.
"All the veterans of 1/5 know Donald's story," said McCullough. “It made me realize that as long as we continue to remember Donald's story, he is here amongst all of us.”
Even though this ended up being the Hogans’ last box of donated socks, they still plan to help service members and their families through the San Clemente Marine Corps Support Group in their hometown.