Matthew Freeman's duty ended August 7, 2009. It was barely his second week in Afghanistan. He was an honor roll student who had dreamed of joining the Marines since age 4.
Five years later, his mother, Lisa Freeman, made teddy bears from his uniform for her relatives.
"The bears meant so much to my girls. They had something of their brother's to give to their children. I thought that this could be something I do for others," Freeman told Richmond Hill Georgia Live TV. "So I started making the bears out of Matt's uniform for his friends who had named their children after him."
The group's website also sheds light on the project's inspiration: "Matthew 5:4 says 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.' Bears will be made for the children, siblings, and nieces and nephews of fallen soldiers out of the old uniforms of the fallen soldier. Bears made are free to the families."
"As I make those bears, I'm praying as I hold that material. It means that much to me," Freeman told Richmond Hill Georgia Live TV. "It's sacred to me that I can bring some comfort to the families."
The bears are an extension of The Matthew Freeman Project, which provides school supplies to children in countries affected by war and scholarships for siblings of those killed in action.
If you would like to request a bear or volunteer for the project, visit the project's website.
Watch the full interview with Lisa Freeman on Richmond Hill Georgia Live TV below.