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Keep those cards coming, folks

South County support group again organizing holiday card drive for troops

South County support group again organizing holiday card drive for troops

October 07, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

KEEDYSVILLE - Lynn Jones said she can hardly believe that this holiday season will be the sixth for the South Washington County Military Support Group in its quest to support the U.S. troops serving in the Middle East.

"In 2007, we sent 175 military members and their units 119,434 cards in three countries - Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq," Jones said.

Hopes are that number will be surpassed this year during the drive, which runs until Nov. 20. But Jones said that all depends on the community's response.

All that leads up to Nov. 30, when volunteers will read the cards and pack them up at Camp Manidokan in Knoxville between 1 and 5 p.m. to be shipped out.

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Jones encourages anyone who has a family member serving in the Middle East to contact the group as quickly as possible. Full name and unit address are needed.

Jones can be reached at 301-432-4979 or via e-mail at lalollie2278@verizon.net. The Web site is www.decalsandmore.com, clicking on the SWCMSG logo.

Cards may be store-bought or homemade; no envelopes, or postage are needed. They should be signed and will be screened for security issues. Messages of support are best and pen pals may be requested.

The cards and monetary donations for mailing costs can be sent to SWCMSG, c/o Lynn Jones, P.O. Box 223, Keedysville, MD, 21756. Arrangements can be made for pickup at schools and churches.

A scrapbook begun by Jones holds letters, e-mails and gifts from military personnel who have received holiday cards. She said many thank you's come in each year.

"Two years ago, we got one of our boxes back and when we opened it, there was a teddy bear that someone had sent us anonymously," Jones said. "It said 'Somebody in Iraq loves you.'"

She still has that bear.

One of the reasons Jones got into this effort was quite personal. Her son, Kevin Hurlbrink, and daughter, Kelly Zamora, were once in the 82nd Airborne and both served in the Middle East.

"I founded the group because I wanted to share what I was going through ... it was like a support group," Jones said. The card drive started when she and others learned that so many military people got no cards or packages while they were serving in the Middle East.

Pensively, Jones said she hopes the day will come when such an effort won't be necessary.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we went out of business? But that's not going to happen," she said.

And in the meantime, no matter what anyone feels about military policies, the men and women over there need to be supported, Jones said.

"If we change one person's life, we've done our job."

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