Maria Domingue knows how it feels to be the mother of soldiers: Three of her four sons have served in the U.S. military. What’s more, her other son is a police officer. “L’Oreal does not hide the gray,” jokes the 67-year-old from Ozark.
Shoppers may have met Domingue, owner of Flour Power Custom Desserts, at the Greater Springfield Farmers’ Market, where she sells baked goods. But in 2008, after her third son, Nick McCauley, survived serious injuries from a Humvee attack in Iraq that killed one of his U.S. Army comrades, Domingue realized how close he had come to dying. Then, after watching a commercial for Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit that supports the military, veterans and their families, Domingue saw it as “a sign” that she needed to reach out to support families whose children had died while serving.
A professional baker who once operated a bakery in Wyoming, Domingue was already quick to send care packages when her sons let her know of needs among the troops. After she joined a Soldiers’ Angels team, though, she also began sending cards to bereaved military families. “I didn’t want any soldier to be forgotten,” Domingue says. Now, Domingue sends more than 6,700 cards each year.
Proceeds from sales at the Flour Power tent buy cards and stamps, plus gift cards for active military troops in need, Domingue says. She and her husband, Terry Heim, also deliver goods to military bases. Last summer, they dropped off 4,000 cookies in South Dakota, and Domingue even drove to California last year to do the same.