Members of the military and local veterans will receive personal messages from Southern Californians this holiday season as part of the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
Hundreds of Red Cross L.A. Region volunteers and supporters attended special card signing parties where they crafted their own cards and wrote messages of gratitude and support to soldiers and vets. More than 3,000 cards were signed by local residents and will be delivered by the Red Cross to national and local military bases and hospitals, veterans hospitals and other local locations during the holiday season.
During a Nov. 29 card signing party at the Red Cross L.A. Region headquarters in West L.A., a cross section of volunteers gave their personal reasons for participating.
Cat McGowan, a new volunteer from Studio City said: “I have a lot of empathy for the people serving our country and for those who have served. Many of us take them for granted. I’m just hoping to bring them a slice of home.”
Culver City resident Bill Gallagher, who retired 10 months ago and is also a new volunteer said, “Whenever I can do something for a veteran or service member, I feel compelled to help. They are carrying our heavy water. We’re happy and comfortable, and they’re not.”
Cherie Jones, from the Windsor Hills area of Los Angeles, and Paula Fins of Venice did not know each other before attending the party, but were both appreciative of what members of the military do. Said Jones, “I’m doing this to thank our soldiers and veterans for their service to our country, and to let them know we support them whole heartedly.” Fins added: “This is the least I can do, since I’m not out there personally protecting our country. I believe these cards are really appreciated when they’re received.
Ron Martin of Rancho Palos Verdes knows first-hand how much soldiers appreciate receiving cards from home. “I was in the Army overseas during an unpopular war. Even though I received cards from my family, I also got cards from other people through the USO, which made me feel better about being in Vietnam. Now, I’m here to pay back.”
Holiday Mail for Heroes is just one program the Red Cross sponsors to support the country’s soldiers and veterans. To learn more about the Red Cross L.A. Region Services to the Armed Forces programs and services, please click http://www.redcross.org/ca/los-angeles/programs-services/service-armed-forces.
photo by Roxanne Schorbach