Patti Patton-Bader was born in Pasadena, California. The daughter of Korean and Viet Nam war veteran LTC (ret) David Patton, Patti was no stranger to the military or to supporting our troops.
In 2003, Patti founded Soldiers’ Angels when her oldest son, Staff Sergeant Brandon Varn, was deployed in Iraq. Her son made comments that he was one of the few soldiers receiving care packages so Patti gathered some friends and neighbors and they began sending packages to his whole platoon.
More and more requests for help came…from soldiers, from combat hospitals, from the families of America’s warriors.
Patti and her band of friends came to the realization that more had to be done and could be done. They knew that there were many, many Americans who wanted to support the troops, but just didn’t know how. Using technology, Patti was able to build a system to match the needs of soldiers with people back home who wanted to send care packages. And they were able to group people back home with skills and a desire to help our troops – skills like quilt making, baking, or letter writing. Within just a few months, Soldiers’ Angels went from a dedicated mother sending a few extra care packages and letters, to an Internet community with thousands of Angels worldwide.
With more and more merchants donating services, money and items for packages, Soldiers’ Angels reorganized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2004. Soldiers’ Angels continued to grow – there were thousands and thousands of volunteers dedicated to a powerful mission:
May no soldier go unloved,
May no soldier walk alone,
May no soldier be forgotten,
Until they all come home.
Patti and Soldiers’ Angels have been recognized for service to our military, their families and our country many, many times. Some of the awards received include:
- Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service from the Department of the Army
- George Washington Spirit Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart
- Microsoft Above and Beyond Extra Effort Award
- James C. Van Zandt Citizenship Award from the VFW
- The Spirit of Hope Award from the Secretary of Defense
In 2008, in a nationwide vote on NBC (hosted by Donny and Marie Osmond), Patti was honored on the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day as “America’s Favorite Mom”. Patti donated the $250,000 grand prize to Soldiers’ Angels.
Under Patti’s guidance Soldiers’ Angels worked tirelessly to live up to its motto. Soldiers’ Angels became a quick reaction resource for our military and their families, filling in gaps that were unable to be filled by the military and other organizations. Living up to the request by the DOD through its program America Supports You, Patti worked hand in hand with great organizations, like the Fisher House Foundation and Military Order of the Purple Heart, to provide our service members and their families with the timely support they needed. Under Patti’s guidance Soldiers’ Angels not only helped support our military but it gave tens of thousands of Americans the opportunity to volunteer and to directly and personally show their support to our military and their families.
By the end of her tenure as President of Soldiers’ Angels in 2013, per the US Post Office, Soldiers’ Angels was one of the largest shippers of goods to Iraq and Afghanistan. Patti’s team delivered hundreds and hundreds of thousands of care packages, hundreds of tons of coffee and other goods, over 25,000 aid backpacks to Combat Support Hospitals, provided over 6,000 computer devices with voice recognition for soldiers with wounds to their eyes and/or hands, Kevlar blankets to protect unarmored Humvees in the war zones, flights for families to be reunited with their wounded troops, and supported many families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Today, thanks to Patti’s vision in 2003, Soldiers’ Angels is one of the largest volunteer-centered organizations dedicated to supporting our troops, veterans, and their families.