The heart and driving force of Jacob’s Light Foundation was Dorine Kenney of Middle Island (Long Island, New York). Dorine began the organization in honor of her beloved son, SPC. Jacob Fletcher. Jacob joined the Army at age 27 after being profoundly impacted by the attacks on September 11, 2001. He proudly fulfilled his lifelong calling of serving his country.
Jacob became a paratrooper and was stationed in Vicenza, Italy. He was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and was one of
1,000 paratroopers to make the historic jump into Iraq on March 26, 2003. After they jumped into Northern Iraq, the 173rd went to Kirkuk. He and his fellow troops patrolled, trained Iraqi police officers and went on many dangerous missions. Jacob died on November 14, 2003, after a roadside bomb exploded the bus he was traveling in on November 13, 2003, on Highway 1 in Samarra, 11 days short of his 29th birthday.
While Jacob was stationed in Iraq, Dorine sent her son a box of goodies every week. Embodying a caring heart, Jacob asked Dorine to send one of his buddies letters and a care package as his friend hadn’t received any from home. Jacob often asked Dorine to send specific items for other soldiers stationed in Iraq with him, and she was more than happy to do so.
For Jacob’s 29th birthday, eleven days after his death, Dorine sent the first box of what was to become the legacy of Jacob’s Light Foundation. Dorine continued her mission to comfort and support the selfless, brave American heroes in her son’s honor and loving memory and eventually founded Jacob’s Light Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
From a mother’s love for her son, this incredible organization sent over 635,000 pounds of items to support Jacob’s military brothers and sisters stationed overseas, fighting bravely for our country, from 2003 through 2014.
Others joined Dorine in her dedication to our troops, and on the last Tuesday evening of every month, for 11 years, hundreds of volunteers came together at Jacob's Light Foundation's headquarters to pack out letters and comforts from home to our deployed troops. A large American Flag hung from the rafters…blown-up letters from soldiers and elected officials decorated every wall of the facility… and an extra large poster-sized photograph of Jacob graced the main visitor's wall inspiring the volunteers as they packed 200 to 275 individual boxes, each containing up to 40 pounds of supplies. The next morning, the Fire Riders would come and pick up all the boxes and bring them to the post office to be sent out overseas. Items and inventory to be packed line the walls, and volunteers moved in a sort of organized chaos as they carefully packed each care package. According to Dorine, troops have told her that each box can reach up to ten service members at a time. Jacob’s Light Foundation impacted hundreds of thousands of troops each and every month.
One of the main goals of the organization was to mail out packages to troops who do not receive mail from home. Packages were also sent to soldiers stationed in forward operating bases in the remotest war zones that do not have access to basic amenities such as toothpaste and deodorant. Special requests were often received from troops in these locations, and Jacob's Light Foundation accommodated every single request…for 11 dedicated years.