The Stano Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in June 2015.
Being a military mom, Founder and President, Paula Stano, was involved with the SAMs (Stand Alone Marines) during her son’s boot camp experience. These young men/women had no support or anyone to take them home after graduation or to be with on the proudest day of their lives. The battalion her son was with started a Facebook page to help support them by listing all the donations they needed for the SAMs so they could be prepared for their next endeavor. It hurt her heart to read about this and she knew she had to do something. Paula reached out to family, friends and through the power of Facebook, she was able to collect so many donations that she needed to borrow a Chevy Tahoe to drive them to South Carolina. It was truly a humbling experience for Paula to see so many people come together to make this happen; it was amazing. This is when the realization occurred that this was only the beginning of her volunteering experience with the military.
After MCT and his MOS schooling, her son was given an overseas PDS. As much as she hated him being so far away, it’s what he wanted and she at least knew he’d be “safe.” Paula sent him care packages at least once a month and she signed him up with organizations who wanted to help our deployed troops. He appreciated the packages but felt that there were others who needed these kinds of packages more than him. Once he told her this, she asked him if he wanted her to reach out to some of his friends who were deployed in unsafe areas or on ships where some things were just not accessible to them. Paula knew there was something she could do to help them receive packages from home filled with love and support. Within a couple of weeks, Paula was corresponding with some of her son’s high school friends who were now in the military and in situations where they would graciously welcome the care packages. It was amazing and yet heartbreaking at the same time as some of the items they were asking for were things we take for granted every day. As the days grew closer to the holiday season, Paula took a leap (a huge leap) and adopted a whole platoon who would be deployed at Christmas time and away from their families. Paula rallied up her family, friends and coworkers and together they were able to send 45 boxes to this platoon of 24 men. It was so gratifying! This is when the wheels truly started churning about doing this as often as she could.
Two months later, after being discouraged at a volunteer packing party for the military, where no thought was put into what was being sent out. It was more about how many boxes can we fill and ship. Paula’s best friend asked why she just didn’t form her own organization. She said, “You’ve done this already and you can do it again.” To be honest, Paula had thought about it but she was scared. With her best friend being a huge networker, belonging to many committees and being so active in our community, her best friend encouraged Paula to follow her dream and ensured her that she would be there to help her succeed. They began reaching out to these organizations who were excited at the idea and looking forward to help when the time arose.
So here we are!
Paula would like to thank her son as he is the inspiration behind this organization. He has taught her how to be a better person each and every day. He always told her she couldn’t save the world but she felt it was her duty to help serve those who serve us. If Paula can help just one person at a time, and inspire someone else to do the same, slowly it will work and together we can. Our military should never feel forgotten and without support. Please help us to help them.