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Holiday for Heroes mail drive kicks off

Christine Kuklica
ckuklica@lahontanvalleynews.com

The holidays are around the corner and what better way to get into the holiday spirit than to send thanks, encouragement, and holiday cheer to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

The American Red Cross is hosting an event called Holiday for Heroes Mail drive that consists of individuals sending personalized cards and messages to troops to provide a “touch of home” during the holiday season.

“Last year the Northern Nevada chapter collected 5,000 cards, and this year we hope to collect 15,000,” said Gail Bursill, American Red Cross volunteer. “This is the first year we have appealed to the Fallon community, so it is our hope the residents here will respond in a big way.”

Bursill said fliers have been sent to all schools and passed around to teachers in hopes that they will have their classes participate. Bursill added she will be at the Seniors Center on Friday at 11 a.m. to speak with the seniors about the drive, and at St. Patrick’s Church on Saturday from 9 a.m.– 2 p.m. She will have cards for individuals who are donating blood.

There are strict guidelines that you have to follow if you want to participate in the drive, she said.

The guidelines for participation include the following:

Use generic salutations such a “Dear Service Member.”

Write a message of thanks and good cheer — “Thank you for your service to our country” or “Sending you holiday well wishes and thanks for all you do four us.”

Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.

Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.

Only sign with your first name and your state.

Do not include email or home addresses on the cards.

Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos.

Refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.

If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope since envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

All cards received will be screened for hazardous materials and shipped to Red Cross offices. The cards will be read and sorted by Red Cross volunteers and then distributed to military members, veterans and military families.

“Some will go to the Reno Veterans Hospital, and the rest will be sent to Maryland to be sent to our deployed troops,” said Bursill.