When Kansas University geography professor Jerry Dobson heard word that troops overseas were looking for Jayhawk memorabilia, he decided to take some action.
His daughter-in-law, Nicole Dobson, was serving as a doctor at an armed services hospital at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. She told him that the hospital had been writing to universities to see what kind of memorabilia they could get sent to display in the hospital.
While working at the U.S. State Department, Jerry Dobson talked to a KU Endowment Association official at an alumni event. Soon thereafter, memorabilia started flowing in.
Though it was in the middle of the football season at the time, then-Coach Mark Mangino and quarterback Todd Reesing signed two footballs, and the entire team signed a poster. The KU goods accompanied other pennants, flags, pin-ups and other memorabilia.
“For us, it was a lot of fun,” said Nicole Dobson, who is now stationed in Washington, D.C., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “We’d get the packages and we’d open them all together.”
Packages came from Texas, Kansas, the Air Force Academy and others. They helped raise the morale of the wounded service members, too, Nicole Dobson said.
“They’re so far from home,” she said, saying it provided a nice reminder for soldiers who didn’t have easy access to college football.