It’s often said that words have power. Nowhere is this more evident than in the hundreds of thousands of messages of thanks, encouragement and seasons greetings sent from Americans to the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed around the world.
For a sixth year, people from around the country have come together to participate in the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
"Two minutes is all it takes to fill a card with a heartfelt holiday greeting and that note can make a huge difference to a military member serving far away from home during the holidays," said Sherri Brown, SVP for Service to the Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “It's amazing where the cards come from community groups, faith based orgaizations, NFL teams, corporations, veterans and people who have no affiliation with the military. The cards literally are sent by people from all walks of life and from all parts of our nation.”
In Upper Sandusky, Ohio, the Hancock County Chapter held a Holiday Mail for Heroes event at the Upper Sandusky Fire Department and the fire fighters joined local families in making cards for our service members. In nearby Findlay, members of the Red Cross Youth Council joined area families in the card-making fun. Together with cards made by other local groups, they collected over 750 cards for our service members.
The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin partnered with the Green Bay Packers to host three card-signing events. The first was before the November 4th game at Lambeau Field against the Arizona Cardinals. The second took place November 14th at a blood drive in the Lambeau Field Atrium, and hundreds of people took the time to sign holiday cards. The final event happened during the organization’s annual ‘Festival of Lights” event. The chapter set a goal to collect 10,000 cards this year and they far surpassed it collecting over 23,000 holiday cards - 7,000 more than in 2011.
In Atlanta, Sandra Deal, first lady of Georgia, led the Holiday Mail for Heroes efforts with an appeal to the public to her in sending holiday messages of gratitude to service members on military installations, in military hospitals and to veteran’s organizations throughout the U.S. and overseas. She brought her six grandchildren with her to participate at the event.
The Holiday Mail for Heroes program reaches our service members at installations overseas. Whether in Europe, the Far East or the Kuwaiti Desert Red Cross staffers deliver little bundles of holiday cards to the troops. At the Red Cross office at Misawa Air Base Japan, Karen Jorgenson, SAF Station Manager and her team have sorted the cards they’ve received and are in full swing sharing them with the military community. And at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Thomas Dillon shares holiday greeting with military members in the hospital.
The American Red Cross office in Wiesbaden, Germany rallied volunteers and spent hours sorting the boxes of cards before they delivered holiday cards to American military families living in the Wiesbaden Community. Their first project was to decorate their installation post office with cards. Now each time a soldier or family member checks their mail or waits in a long line for a holiday package they can read cards reminding them how grateful the American people are for their many sacrifices.
“As we were taping the cards in the post office two spouses came up to us with tears in their eyes telling us how overwhelmed they were after reading the sweet sentiments in the cards we had hung,” said Jana Fullmer, SAF Station Manager.