Cards boost soldiers' morale



Last year, Wanda Frye delivered holiday cards to the Charlie Norwood Veterans Administration Hospital, and to other area hospitals where she knew veterans were being treated.

“The look on some of the soldiers’ (faces) that received the cards from the VA was truly amazing,” she said. “One told me he was in the Vietnam War. He said it’s great to still be remembered.”

The American Red Cross is kicking off its annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Through Dec. 6, anyone who wishes to can sign a card to be delivered to a veteran or an active duty soldier in the United States or abroad.

Frye said her husband, Command Sgt. Maj. Andy Frye, still has all the cards he received when he was deployed to Iraq during the Christmas season in 2007.

“He said it brightens his day whenever he gets mail when he’s downrange,” she said.

“It puts a smile on his face when he sees a card from a child or a community member. It’s very uplifting.”

Frye said most active-duty soldiers are touched when they receive a card because it lets them know the people back home care.

Jennifer Pennington, executive director for the Augusta Chapter of the Red Cross, is encouraging community groups to host signing parties.

“Members will just bring in cards. Everybody can take turns writing messages in them,” she said.

Cards should be signed using generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” The exterior of the envelopes should remain blank.

All cards must be mailed to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD, 20791-5456 by Dec. 6.

Cards will be scanned for hazardous materials and will be sent back to local chapters or to posts overseas for distribution.

The Augusta chapter will host card-sorting parties later in the season.

Cards collected will be read by volunteers to ensure all messages are appropriate, and then will be sorted to be given to veterans and soldiers at Fort Gordon and area hospitals.

“Our soldiers give of themselves every day to protect us,” Pennington said.

“Hopefully, soldiers hear a ‘Thank you for your service’ every day from someone in this community.

‘‘If you haven’t thanked a soldier lately, this is a great way to say thank you in a very meaningful way.”

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Cards must conform to the following guidelines:

• All cards must be signed

• Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.

• Only cards can be accepted. Do not include letters.

• Do not include personal contact information. The program is not intended to foster pen pal relationships.

• Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos. Anything inserted will be removed during the sorting process.

• Do not use cards with glitter, as it can aggravate the health issues of ill and injured warriors.

• If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat-rate shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.




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