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Area women send holiday cheer to troops around world

Posted: Monday, October 02, 2000

Boosting the morale of United States troops should not stop when wars end.

While many are thinking about making out Christmas cards for friends and family, a group of women have already started cards for people they don't even know.

The Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10046 has spent the past three years sending Christmas and Valentine's cards to active duty military men and women all over the world as part of Friends of Our Troops, a national organization that supports servicemen at more than 1,000 places around the world.

"They are our future vets," said Rachel Jurco, president of the auxiliary.

Jurco said the group of 10 women, with ages ranging from 50 to 80, meet once a week and make out the cards. They start the cards about a month before each holiday to ensure the cards' timely arrival.

The Ladies Auxiliary recently received certificates from Friends of our Troops for its efforts.

This year, the women started the cards the last week of September. Last year the auxiliary sent more than 700 cards to a central location where the greetings were distributed throughout the world.

Each card is signed by the auxiliary, many with personal messages, poems and information about the area.

"Everyone writes what they want to write," Jurco said.

Lee Broker has been an auxiliary member for at least 15 years. She said she enjoys writing the cards and getting responses back and once received a letter from a colonel.

"His letter really touched me," she said.

The group has received many other responses from those who receive letters.

"Its amazing how many of them write back and thank us," she said.

Broker said she generally writes 20 to 25 cards. In her cards she describes what is occurring with area sports, hunting and fishing, and tells them about the weather.

Steve Etta Stephens also describes Alaska in her letters and ends every note with "we are thinking of you."

"I try to personalize them," she said.

Last Christmas was Stephens' first year writing to the troops. She said she personally wrote 177 letters.

She said she brings home many of the cards because she has more time and can add her personal touch.

"I enjoy it," Stephens said.

The opportunity to participate in the organization is open to the public. For more information, write to Friend of Our Troops, P.O. Box 65408, Fayetteville, NC 28306.



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