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Volunteers send Christmas cheer to soldiers and veterans

By Staff | Dec 1, 2016

Chronicle photo by Toni Milbourne Steve Allen, Steve and Barb Miller, Marge Ruth and Monica Cressin spent Tuesday evening signing Christmas cards as part of the Holidays for Heroes campaign sponosred by the Red Cross.

Nearly a dozen volunteers turned out Tuesday evening at the Jefferson County offices of the American Red Cross to sign and send holiday cards to veterans and military personnel.

Dubbed ‘Holidays for Heroes,’ the program delivers cards of thanks and support to members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

This year’s program will deliver cards from the local communities to local military facilities, veteran’s homes and hospitals and military family support groups. This is a program built on neighbors reaching out to neighbors.

The national Red Cross invites the public to join their local Red Cross offices to thank and recognize members of the military, veterans and their families through a variety of activities.

Sending holiday greeting cards is the current activity underway at the Northwest/ WV Region office in Kearneysville.

According to Clair Brendel, Disaster Program Manger, Disaster Services, at the local Red Cross office, this initiative helps to say thank you and give something back to the veterans and military personnel who have served.

“Whoever hears about the program and wishes to participate can bring cards,” Brendel said.

“We will have about 1,000 done tonight,” she continued. “Last year we sent close to 5,000 cards.”

Brendel shared that many groups, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sunday School classes and others join in the holiday card program. Many of the Red Cross community partners also take part.

Several of those partners were present Tuesday, signing cards with messages appropriate to any receiver.

Barbara Miller, Jefferson County’s Director of Homeland Security, and her husband, Steve, were on hand to sign cards.

“We really appreciate our veterans,” Miller said. “This is just a small way to say ‘thank you.'”

Mark Schill, a member of the Red Cross, is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He joined in the efforts to share a personal word with others who have also served.

Brendel indicated that any groups or individuals who wish to sign cards and bring them to her office are welcome to do so.

Suggested messages include things such as ‘Thank you for your service;’ ‘Thank you for serving our country;’ Thank you for your bravery;’ or ‘Thank you for protecting our freedoms.” Also appropriate is a closing note of ‘Because of you I?feel safe;” and “Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.”

“We want to make sure that all cards are appropriate for whomever opens them,” Brendel explained with regard to the secular messages.

All cards will be delivered locally, so messages such as “come home safe” are inappropriate.

When signing cards, do not include any personal information such as email or address. It is also suggested that glittery cards not be used as they may aggravate some health issues of veterans receiving the cards.

Cards may be dropped off at the American Red Cross office at the Jefferson County Public Services Center, 1948 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville. They should be dropped off within the next few days.

The Red Cross asks no items be enclosed in the holiday cards.

Any items enclosed will be removed, including photos and other gifts.

Those who wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, may donate online by visiting redcross.org.

For more information on Holidays for Heroes or any other Red Cross program, contact Brendel at 304-725-5015, ext. 4302.