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A mover delivers one of 10 new mattresses to the Stork’s Nest cottages Monday. The mattresses were donated on behalf of the Combined Religious Offering Fund and an Okinawa spouses group.

A mover delivers one of 10 new mattresses to the Stork’s Nest cottages Monday. The mattresses were donated on behalf of the Combined Religious Offering Fund and an Okinawa spouses group. (Amanda M. Woodhead / U.S. Navy)

After 38 weeks of pregnancy and five weeks away from her husband and 2-year-old daughter, Kimberlyn Nelson is more than ready to welcome her newest daughter into the world.

Until that day, she’ll sleep a lot more comfortably, thanks to a gift from the Chaplains’ Spouses Group that bought new beds for Nelson and others staying at the Stork’s Nest, a group of free cottages for mothers with high-risk pregnancies.

The group first began helping the Stork’s Nest by “adopting” a bedroom and fixing it up with newer furnishings. Talking with employees in January disclosed that patients’ most pressing needs were newer, more comfortable beds. Weeks later, the group presented Stork’s Nest with $3,350 collected through the Religious Offering Fund, enough for 10 beds with a little left for other needs.

“Anybody who has been through a regular pregnancy, which is hard enough, would want to help someone through a crisis pregnancy as much as they could,” said Beth Denton, a member of the Chaplain’s Spouses Group. The club is a subgroup within the Naval Officer’s Spouses Club Okinawa

Denton said she first was touched by Nelson’s story while volunteering at the Stork’s Nest

Nelson’s high-risk pregnancy forced her to leave her family at Yokota Air Base to obtain the more intensive treatment available at a more extensive medical facility. She could have flown back to the United States but obtaining the passport her newborn would need to return with her to Japan could have taken months, she said. Instead, she came to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa.

Since then, Stork’s Nest volunteers have taken her to the commissary and helped her with other personal needs, while others have dropped off meals three or four times each week.

“I’ve met a lot of nice people who have helped … and it’s all been voluntary,” said Nelson, who added that everything has gone well so far with her pregnancy.

The efforts of Futenma Chaplain Dennis Wheeler, the spouses group and many others have made a huge difference to Stork’s Nest residents, said Cricket Claeys, the manager. “To have an outside organization, with so many people contributing, was just amazing,” she said. “I was in awe.”

Call 643-7377 to volunteer or become a member of Friends of the Stork’s Nest.

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