After Kathy Kemezis lost her only son, Devin Galligan, due to a tragic brain tumor in 2003, she simply couldn’t bring herself to even think about sending out holiday cards to friends and family members each year in December. For years, she would buy and collect beautiful cards with snowy farmhouse scenes and golden reindeer, but it just made her too sad to consider mailing them each year.
Galligan had been diagnosed initially in 1996, shortly after he had been selected for Officer Candidate School with the United States Corps. Although his health condition prevented him from initiating his military career, he was considered a brother and fellow Marine. He was honored by two Marines who visited him at his bedside in the hospital after his initial diagnosis. One of the Marines, Staff Sergeant Simpson, was so moved that he presented Galligan and his family with his cover, the white hat that is traditionally worn with the dress blues uniform.
This year, ten years after the disease finally took Galligan’s life, Kemezis was touched by a television movie she watched of someone sending a card to a solider during the holidays. She quickly contacted her daughter who sent her the link about the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Kemezis felt this was finally her chance to honor her son and to help send a message of hope to soldiers serving our country. She contacted the Nashville Area Chapter of the Red Cross to get more information about how she could participate in Holiday Mail for Heroes and also to see how she could get involved as a volunteer for the Service to Armed Forces program.
“I am just so glad that now I have a chance to truly honor Devin’s memory and to thank our men and women who bravely serve our country every day,” said Kemezis.
HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES Many people have supported the program over the years and the Red Cross invites you to continue to share your gratitude with our service men and women this holiday season. Since the program began in 2006, the Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
Take a minute to learn more about the Holiday Mail for Heroes program including card guidelines and where to send them.
In honor of Devin Galligan (1972 – 2003).