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Military back-up: mother will give free day care

Debbie Lee offers a little relief

Debbie Lee is looking for a few good women. (Or men.) She’d like to help them out.

Lee, who owns Kids-R-Us day care and pre-school, is offering 15 hours per week of free day care to anyone with a spouse serving in the military and deployed as a result of the war in Iraq.

“In so many towns where I’ve lived or visited, businesses offer discounts to military personnel,” Lee said. She decided she could do something similar by offering free day care. “I thought, what an awesome way to show our support for our men and women overseas.” Lee has a stake in showing her support: she has two sons and a son-in-law serving in the military.

One of Lee’s inspirations for the idea came from her own daughter, Cheryl Wells, who moved back to Hood River this week from Louisiana after her husband, Chris, was shipped to Iraq with the Army. Cheryl has three small children.

“I know a couple of other families with small children whose husbands have been deployed,” Lee said. “These women are with their children 24 hours a day. The service I could provide would give them time to do some shopping or just take a break.”

Lee is hoping she inspires other local businesses to offer services or discounts to families of deployed military personnel. She’s even willing to help coordinate it — to act as an “information center” of such services offered in the area.

She’s also hoping to get some volunteers to help at Kids-R-Us if she gets overwhelmed by her offer.

“I’m counting on some back-up!” she said.

With three family members in the military, Lee says she is apprehensive but also comforted.

“Knowing these guys personally, it makes me feel more comfortable knowing they’re over there protecting us,” she said. “On the other hand, you have to face the reality that they might not come back. I’d be very hard and calloused to say that doesn’t bother me.” In the meantime, Lee turns to her strong Christian faith for comfort — and, now, she hopes to comfort others by offering free day care.

“I just want to do something positive,” she says. “Something that can encourage and support our troops.”

For more information, call Debbie Lee at Kids-R-Us at 386-9123.

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