Cheer to veterans from local children
by Glenn Moore
Dec 13, 2013 | 2297 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas cheer for veterans
Primary Charter School student Angelina Sanchez writes a message to a veteran Monday, Dec. 9, on a Christmas card to be mailed to a Veterans Affairs hospital.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Dominic Galang, a third grade student, carefully drew a Christmas tree on the inside of a Christmas card as he finished writing a holiday note to a veteran. Finishing his message, he placed the card in an envelope and added it to the growing stack of completed cards that would be mailed to patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country.

Dominic, executive officer of the student council, and other students in the Sapphire pod at Tracy Learning Center’s Primary Charter School, were working to spread holiday cheer Monday, Dec. 9, by writing hundreds of Christmas cards for veterans.

“I think it’s important, because they were injured and we want them to feel better,” Dominic said. “We have to remember the people that served in the military”

The Christmas card project is part of a partnership the group of 150 kindergarten to fourth-grade students started earlier this year with Military Moms of Tracy.

Allison Smedley, who teaches the pod with Shannon Tyler, said the partnership began when the class helped collect cookies and hot chocolate to send to service men and women serving in Afghanistan.

Students provided 58 bags of cookies and 700 packets of cocoa that were packed in 25 boxes for Tracy military personnel and their platoons overseas. Military Moms took care of the shipping costs.

For Veterans Day, the class made hundreds of cards and letters that a group of students used to decorate the American Legion Hall walls and tables.

Smedley said the success of the Veterans Day cards led to the Christmas card project. She grew up with a father in the United States Navy and has a brother-in-law in the U.S. Marine Corps, and the project is close to her heart.

“I think it’s something that kind of gets forgotten,” Smedley said of the veterans who have returned injured. “They feel the love and sympathy of other people. It’s important for them to know other people care.”

At the Tracy Learning Center on Monday, students grouped at tables emptied dozens of boxes of donated Christmas cards — 538 cards in all.

Student council secretary third grade student Komal Khehra said she had fun writing to the veterans and letting them know someone cares.

“If we don’t send cards, they don’t feel important,” Komal said. “It’s good people remember them.”

The sealed, personalized cards will be turned over to Military Moms of Tracy to mail.

The group will send bundles of cards to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System; the burn unit of Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas; Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

“We started with the local community, then decided to broaden it,” Smedley said.

Marilyn Chorley, a member of Military Moms of Tracy, said the 10-year-old organization has always worked closely with local schools, and she expected the Christmas cards would be appreciated by the veterans.

Chorley said any extra donations the group receives are often taken to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, so sending cards to VA hospitals was an easy choice.

“They always like getting cards,” Chorley said. “Sometimes there may not be room for lots of packages, but cards and letters are always appreciated.”

Smedley said the class is planning to work with the Military Moms of Tracy again in the future.

Anyone in the community who wants to donate items to Military Moms of Tracy can call Chorley at 835-5559.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com

 
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