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Write A Letter & Bring Some Joy

I need each of you to do something today:

Neighbors Foundation currently has a list of soldiers and sailors that we send care packages to. I just got off the phone with one of "our" soldiers, 1st Sgt Joe Santos. We chatted for about 15 minutes. He called to thank me for the care packages that Neighbors Foundation has been sending.

But Joe also called to ask for something. He said his soldiers are really missing home and would love to receive some letters. In the course of our conversation, he said they could really use some morale boosting at least five times. The tone of Joe's voice was most discouraging for me. He and his unit need to hear from home. They need to feel connected to the people they are fighting for. They need to hear us say that we care about them.

I don't know exactly where Joe is, but I do know his unit has recently lost some soldiers. I know they are on the front of the front lines. I know they are not in a back line position. And I know they need our help.

I need each of you to please take a few moments to just write SOMETHING to them. If you email it to me, I will print them and get them off in today's and tomorrow's mail. If you can't write something immediately, then please do it over the weekend and we will continue to send them out. If you want to make the letter to someone in general, we can make copies and send to all of our soldiers. This is a perfect task for children to get involved with as well. It could help count towards your 8th graders' community service time.

I ask one thing of each of you: please make these letters REAL. Write them as if you know the person and you care about the person. I know this is the (former) English teacher in me, but write it with at least a few details of your life. Help the recipient know who you are and why it is so important for you to write this letter.

Emotions and morale swing like a pendulum sometimes. Today, these men and women feel isolated, frightened, discouraged. Let's help get those emotions going towards motivated, pumped, appreciated.

In Japan, there is a legend that folding 1000 origami cranes (senzaburu) so pleases the gods that the folder is granted a wish. Oftentimes, when a neighbor is ill, the community makes 1000 cranes, strings them together and presents them as a gesture to that person so they may be healed.

When I lived in Japan, my Japanese neighbors helped me make 1000 cranes for someone I loved who was ill. The spirit of their willingness to help me in this project was healing for my own soul as well as for the person who was ill.

So, can we get 1000 letters to our soldiers? Can we get 1000 letters to EACH soldier?
Our specific soldier and sailor first names: Brendan, Bill, Ashok, Joe (3), Peter, Leslie, Christy, Manny, Ashley (2), Jeremy, Josh, Michael, Janelle, Hill, Mark, Eric, Jon (2), Matthew, Brian, Paul, David, Ryan, Brent, Ted, and Michael.

Email notes to letters@nifoundation.org
Hard copy letters and cards should be mailed to NIF, 1146-D Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066.

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