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Greetings from home to the Middle East

Families send cards, goodies to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

Families send cards, goodies to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

November 30, 1999|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

KEEDYSVILLE

Politics has nothing to do with it.

It's about showing the troops that you care about them, not revealing how you feel about the war in Iraq, said Lynn Jones, leader of The South Washington County Military Support Group.

For the fifth year, the group of about 12 families is collecting cards and other items for U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year, it sent 115 military members and their units nearly 59,000 cards and other items that filled 230 boxes, she said.

Jones said the support group is hoping for similar success this year. The holiday card drive begins today and will continue through Nov. 20.

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"If we just change one military member's holiday to make it better, then we've done our job," Jones said.

Jones' own children served in Iraq together for about one year.

"That was a year of experiences for me," she said. "That was my whole family over there, except for my husband."

Her daughter, Kelly Hurlbrink Zamora, is on the front line in the war on terrorism for the third time, now working in Afghanistan with special forces.

Jones said the holiday cards and "goodies" make a big difference for so many troops. Her children told her about some people who weren't remembered by anyone over the holidays.

"They didn't get a card, a box, nothing," Jones said.

Each box of cards the support group sends can reach several hundred people. The group gathers the names of military members and their unit addresses. A box is sent to one person, who then shares the box with the unit.

Jones said cards in a box she sent to her daughter one year were plastered on a wall for everyone in the unit to see and read.

Jones said the holiday card drive would not be successful without the support of the community.

"We have been so blessed," she said.

About 500 cards have been collected already. The group also sends phone cards, holiday candy and other items with the boxes.

"We have to show our support for them," Jones said. "Let them know we appreciate what they're doing. We believe in them, and may they come home safe."

It costs The South Washington County Military Support Group nearly $5,000 to mail the holiday packages, which Jones said the families raise throughout the year. Any leftover money is given to Fisher House, an organization that helps families of injured soldiers.

Guidelines for sending greetings

to troops:

âEUR¢� Each card might be read by many service members.

âEUR¢� Cards may be homemade or store bought.

âEUR¢� No envelopes or postage.

âEUR¢� All cards and messages should be appropriate.

âEUR¢� Cards will be screened for security/sensitive issues.

âEUR¢� Do not send blank cards.

âEUR¢� May include messages of well wishes/support.

âEUR¢� May request a pen pal.

âEUR¢� May make arrangements to have cards picked up, dropped off or mailed.

If you want to help

What: The South Washington County Military Support Group holiday card drive for the troops

When: Today through Nov. 20

Contact: For details, call Lynn Jones at 301-432-4979 or send e-mail to her at Lalollie2278@verizon.net.

Send to: South Washington County Military Support Group, C/O Lynn Jones, P.O. Box 223, Keedysville, MD 21756.

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