Remember our troops

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By Congressman Virgil Goode

As you spend time with your family and friends this holiday season, it is important to remember the thousands of servicemembers in our nation’s military who are serving the United States abroad, at home, or are recovering in military and veterans hospitals.  One way to thank and honor our military personnel is to participate in an outreach program, like the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, which the American Red Cross sponsors each year.


          The Holiday Mail for Heroes program continues the Red Cross tradition of service to the armed forces by inviting the public to send holiday cards with messages of thanks and cheer to a special post office box.  The Red Cross collects the cards and distributes them at military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals, and other service-related locations during the holidays.  In 2007, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program received and distributed 600,000 cards for the troops.  Please address your holiday cards to:


Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456


          For more information on the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, please visit www.redcross.org/holidaymail.  At this website, you can print out sample cards along with messages from the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet members Dr. Phil McGraw and Nancy O’Dell.  You can also leave a message on the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Facebook Wall at http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Red-Cross-Service-to-Armed-Forces....


          There are many other service organizations dedicated to organizing gift and service donations for our troops that conduct holiday outreach efforts.  Some of these organizations include:


·        America Supports You (www.americasupportsyou.mil) is a Department of Defense program that recognizes citizen support for our military men and women, and communicates that support to the members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.  The site includes a listing of more than 350 homefront groups that provide a variety of support for military members and their families.  America Supports You homefront groups show support in many ways including writing letters and e-mails, sending care packages, offering scholarships and helping the wounded when they return home.


·        Operation Homefront (www.operationhomefront.net) provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, their families, and wounded warriors when they return home. Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers in 30 chapters nationwide who have provided assistance to more than 45,000 military families in need.


·        The USO (United Service Organizations; www.uso.org) has been the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military for nearly 70 years.  In times of peace and war, the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of comfort, morale and recreational services to the military.  You can visit their website to contribute to the purchase of care package items requested by troops, like prepaid calling cards.


I hope that everyone will enjoy spending time with loved ones during this holiday season, but I also encourage you to take time to show your appreciation for our servicemembers who make great sacrifices to serve and protect our nation.


Please keep in touch with me on issues that are important to you.  You may write Congressman Virgil Goode, 70 East Court Street, Room 215, Rocky Mount, VA   24151; or fax to 1-540-484-1459; or call toll-free to the Danville office, 1-800-535-4008.