Youth support troops with cards

After visiting local schools in Grand Haven, Mich., Charles A. Conklin Post 28 vice commander David MacKellar wanted area youth to learn the importance of supporting our troops overseas. The holiday season created the perfect opportunity.

MacKellar ran an article in Post 28's newsletter, telling his members to send in the names of active-duty military within their families. Once MacKellar collected the names, he asked a number of nearby schools and learning groups to craft holiday cards for the troops overseas.

The response was overwhelming, as more than 250 cards poured in from youth at local churches and schools. The amount of cards greatly surpassed the number of servicemembers on the post's list, creating a surplus of about 100 cards.

MacKellar contacted a friend, Army Maj. Melissa Coleman, and asked her what he could do with the extra cards. She suggested he mail them to Walter Reed Medical Center so they could be distributed to the injured servicemembers recovering there. MacKellar agreed.

For a distribution point in Washington, MacKellar used The American Legion's Heroes to Hometowns program, an initiative that supports severely injured troops in their transition back into society. Representatives of Heroes to Hometowns facilitated the cards to patients at Walter Reed, brightening the holidays for troops there and teaching our country's youth the importance of supporting military in the process.