“Operation Christmas Care,” a hometown project that sends holiday cards to wounded soldiers, has completed its 2011 campaign.
Operation Christmas Care has sent more than 60,000 Christmas cards since December 2006—including an estimated 11,000 to 12,000 cards this year alone, said coordinator Lee Ann Newton. The MTSU employee began the program six years ago.
“Unfortunately, the wars continue, and the need is as great as it ever has been,” Newton said. “For every casualty, there are approximately nine (military personnel) wounded, and 40 percent of these soldiers never return to active duty due to the severity of their wounds.”
Because hospitals remain full of wounded warriors, who are arriving on a daily basis, Newton asked that supporters “add a card or two to your list this year, as the need for the ongoing support is critical to their recovery.”
“Often our soldiers’ individual support systems dwindle after the life-threatening danger has passed, yet their painful daily regimen toward recovery continues,” she added.
”Emails are nice, and they’re appreciated, but a colorful card or letter with a heartfelt message of support and encouragement can beam from the walls of their hospital rooms as they are ready to go home.”
Operation Christmas Care is funded through “Pennies for Postage” donations, Newton said. Cards and donations were collected up to and during the Murfreesboro Christmas Parade on Dec. 11; the project had a truck in the parade to collect cards and donations.
Supporters planning ahead for next year’s “Operation Christmas Care” effort may email Newton at email@example.com or Lee.Newton@mtsu.edu or call 615-804-5393. When the project resumes next year, Newton can supply a card drop box or “Pennies for Postage” jar to place at a workplace, church, school or other location.
Newton, an executive aide in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, also has a list of items “always appreciated and needed” by wounded warriors for those who want to send more than a card.
This year’s effort netted multiple boxes of special useful gifts for warriors at Kandahar Hospital in Afghanistan and the Brooks Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Listen to an interview with Newton about “Operation Christmas Care” on “MTSU On the Record,” the weekly radio show, here. To follow Newton’s ongoing efforts with the project, visit her website at www.unclesamsheroes.com.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)