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Paul Robert Furniture employees make pillows for Marines

 Debbie Castro, left, holds a photo of her son Jacob Francisco, a Marine serving in Afghanistan. Paul Robert Furniture co-worker Lisa Lewis holds the pillow company employees made to send to Hernandez and his fellow Marines.Debbie Castro, left, holds a photo of her son Jacob Francisco, a Marine serving in Afghanistan. Paul Robert Furniture co-worker Lisa Lewis holds the pillow company employees made to send to Hernandez and his fellow Marines.
 A cutting supervisor at Paul Robert cuts fabrics for the pillows to be sent to Marines.A cutting supervisor at Paul Robert cuts fabrics for the pillows to be sent to Marines.
 Paul Robert Furniture employees show the Military Appreciation Pillows the company made to send to Marines serving in Afghanistan.Paul Robert Furniture employees show the Military Appreciation Pillows the company made to send to Marines serving in Afghanistan.

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. — Debbie Castro, sewing department supervisor at Paul Robert Furniture here, comes to work every day thinking about her son Jacob Francisco, a Marine deployed in Afghanistan.

He mentioned via Facebook a couple of months ago that he'd like to have a pillow. As a Marine, he had to pack light and was folding up a towel or blanket to use as a pillow.

Paul Robert Furniture specializes in upholstered furniture and specialty pillows, and Castro thought the ideal product for Jacob would be a durable, washable denim pillow with comfortable filling. She asked Paul Robert co-owner Pat Dickinson for permission to buy a denim pillow for her son, but Dickinson wouldn't hear of it.

She insisted that the company contribute the materials and the labor to make the pillow. Co-workers at the company made it and signed the denim cover with their thanks and well wishes, and Castro sent what has become known as the "military pillow prototype" to her son.

Once Jacob received the pillow, about eight of his closest buddies wanted to know if he thought they could get a Paul Robert pillow too. Jacob messaged his mom on with the request.

Castro again went to Dickinson with the request for eight more pillows, but Dickinson said, "Oh no. That's nowhere near enough."

Dickinson pulled together members of her creative team to make 39 more pillows, using up all of the fabric they selected for the pillow backs. Every employee at Paul Robert played a role in the making of these pillows, called the Military Appreciation Pillow. All were sent to other Marines in Jacob Francisco's group.

Dwight Shook of Shook Business Hub and David Gonzalez of Baruu Advertising were the vendors on the screen printing. Bob Huffman of Industrial Imaging Inc. contributed the photography on the finished pillow.

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