By Melanie Yingst
MIAMI COUNTY — Last week, the Mr. Graham’s Museum 4-H Club pledged their hands for greater service taking part in a community card signing party aptly called “Operation Holiday Smile Letter Brigade.”
The 4-H club was part of nearly 50 people creating and signing Christmas cards for soldiers through the American Red Cross event called “Holiday Mail for Heroes.”
In less than two hours, the group gathered at Marion’s Piazza in Troy to help write 605 Christmas cards to service members stationed overseas and veteran’s hospitals.
Kyle Strugill, 13, of Fletcher, had written two cards so far for the military members overseas.
“I’m thanking them for protecting us,” Sturgill said. “This lets them know that we are thinking of them since they aren’t home for Christmas.”
Kyle’s brother Jason, 15, also helped his 4-H club send the nearly 11 pounds of cards to the Red Cross to distribute to servicemen and women during the holidays.
“I’ve filled out a lot of cards and wished them a Merry Christmas,” Jason said. “I thanked them for their service and help keeping us free.”
The 15 year-old said he enjoyed his 4-H club’s community service project because “it helps them realize they are being thought about.”
Brennon Green, 13, said he enjoyed wishing soldiers over in Iraq a Merry Christmas.
“I bet this helps them out over there,” Green said. “Because a solider in Iraq doesn’t get a lot of mail I bet — so this is something they won’t expect.”
Even the younger 4-H club members were able to wish military members a Merry Christmas.
Jayden Fogt, 9, said he was writing and drawing Christmas pictures in the cards he was signing.
“They all say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas,” Fogt said. “I bet they feel happy when they get these.”
The Operation Holiday Smile Letter Brigade was organized in part by Jeff Starck, a member of the Ohio Professional Writers organization. The room was donated by Marion’s Piazza of Troy.
The American Red Cross will accept cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign through Dec. 6. Cards may be mailed to P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Height, MD 20791-5456.
For more information and guidelines, visit www.redcross.org.