By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

New moms and moms-to-be from the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team got early Mother's Day presents when Operation Shower descended upon Fort Hood Saturday.

Operation Shower is a nonprofit organization that coordinates baby showers for pregnant and expecting service members and their families.

"Becoming a parent is challenging enough when you have the hands-on support of your spouse, friends and family, doing that with a husband fighting in a war is something you can't imagine unless you are in those shoes," Lena Morrissey, Operation Shower co-founder, said in a release.

Each mother at the event received a "Shower in a Box," which was packed with everything from onesies to toys from baby companies across the nation. Most of the items in the boxes were organic or "green."

Spc. Sarah Carranga was among the expecting mothers who attended Saturday's shower. Her husband, Spc. Balmore Carranga, is deployed to Afghanistan with the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, and is expected to return to Fort Hood in June. The couple's first child, Gabriel, is due July 31.

Sarah's favorite item in the box of gifts was the Cozy Cocoon - an organic swaddling blanket.

Sarah has been preparing by reading books and buying things for the baby's room. Even though Balmore is deployed, they still have to agree on everything from décor to bedding, she said.

She's waiting to set up furniture and buy essentials like bath items and diapers until her husband gets home so he can share in the preparation, Sarah said.

The shower's organizers get it, said Maj. Gary Stokes, the brigade's rear detachment commander. They know how hard it is to be a military family and raise a family, he added.

"Putting on these showers is one small way that we hope gives the moms a special memory and shows our support for the sacrifices these dedicated women and their families make for our country," Kris Jackson, Operation Shower co-founder, said in a release.

Sarah said she attended the shower because it was a way to get out on the weekend and socialize.

The moms there could talk about things like morning sickness, she said with a smile.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at or (254) 501-7547.

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