Letter from the Chairman
by Mary Scott, Chairman of the Board
Once again, the holidays have snuck up on me – funny how they do that every year! I imagine many of you feel the same way. Life is busy, and every day requires and deserves full attention – especially in the life of a military family!
If you have recently moved, settled in to a new home, placed your children in new schools, and started a new job, holiday planning has certainly taken a back seat. As we move into this delightful season it is important to make the effort to celebrate the holidays with all the tradition and enthusiasm you possibly can! To all of you who have welcomed home a loved one from deployment this year, celebrating with family traditions is especially important. Although our homes change location, and our neighbors are new, our families are steadfast, and our traditions are comforting reminders of who we are, and of those we love most. If Dad, Mom, son, or daughter is far from home, each of them is with us in mind and heart as we celebrate the holidays with enthusiasm and tradition! It is a great comfort for them to picture the family “back home” celebrating as they always do, with the promise that they will be part of it upon their return!
I’m certain most of you have established ways to help your deployed service member to be as much a part of the holidays as possible. Whether you send homemade goodies, decorations, cards and photos, or arrange to SKYPE on special days, they know you are thinking about them, that you miss them, and that you are very proud of them! If your service member is home, consider joining your church, the USO, a community outreach group, or a military unit in their efforts to collect and send holiday cheer to those who are still away. The best ideas for what to send come from your own family members who have been deployed. Sending items that can be shared is important to keep in mind – baked goods, magazines, cards, and games can be enjoyed by many!
We are grateful that my youngest daughter and her husband, both deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division during this last year, are home safe and sound. I know how much they appreciated receiving touches from home, in conditions that were decidedly less than “homey”. Photos were my daughter’s favorite reminders. She hung them with magnets on the metal walls of her CHU. Our smiling faces would welcome her after a long day, or night, and she would be transported, if only for a moment, to home and family. It was a simple gift, but is not routine anymore. Instead, we send pictures on Facebook, or in an E-mail. Don’t get me wrong, electronic communication is essential, but taking the extra step to make and mail prints during the holidays will be a great addition to your good wishes! Consider taking and sending photos for other families, as well. Drawings or colorings from young children can also be displayed and enjoyed. My oldest daughter and her husband used to send partially finished colorings for the deployed parent to complete and send back to the kids with a message. The kids would hang those special mementos on their own walls, so parents and kids, alike, would have similar reminders of one another!
Return to Full Issue
As we accept the reality that the holidays are here and that power shopping and mailing will be necessary, keep I mind that simple, heartfelt reminders to your deployed service members will mean so much. If your family is together this year, remember those families who are separated. Reach out. Encourage them to celebrate and to share the holidays with their loved ones in ways that really matter. If they are overwhelmed, lend a hand – it will make for an unexpectedly happy holiday for everyone!
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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