Pat and Mac McCoy of Palatine began a mission of their own when their son Rick was a Staff Sargeant Green Beret with the 20th Special Forces and was ultimately deployed five times.
That mission included starting a non-profit organization called The Yellow Ribbon Support Group, and spreading good will in times of foreign conflict overseas.
They have sent care packages and beanie babies to accomplish this task.
"We collected beanie babies to create good will for the foreign nationals, our troops would have to go into these towns in times of conflict, and it scared the native children there," said Pat McCoy.
"There is almost always a language barrier, and by saying the word for friend, then handing a frightened child that beanie baby-I've been told over and over this has 'saved their bacon' many, many times," McCoy said.
Along with her husband Mac, the two not only have donated beanie babies, but also have sent care packages to U.S. military forces serving on foreign shores.
Their organization, The Yellow Ribbon Support Group, officially became a non-profit in April of 2003.
To date, the couple is responsible for sending 25,178 care packages and collecting thousands of beanie babies.
Their son Rick has since retired from the armed forces and now works as a defense contractor, but that hasn't stopped their mission.
"Though Rick is done now, a lot of our children are currently serving. I've heard so many serving now say, 'terrorists have touched us once, and we won't let it happen again,'" McCoy said. "These people are cut from a different cloth."
McCoy said due to the economy, current funding for the non-profit is low.
"If anyone would like to make a donation to help us in our mission, we would greatly appreciate it," McCoy said.
Donations can be made directly to Yellow Ribbon Support Group, c/o BMO Harris Bank, 15 N. Brockway, Palatine, Illinois 60067. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information, visit www.yellowribbonsg.org.