James M. Foote of Buford wrote a poignant letter to the editor on April 11. He called to task people who claim to support our troops, and presented a 12-point "prove-it" test so people can judge for themselves just how much they are really doing to support the troops.
Kat Orr of Loganville goes above and beyond the call of duty, at least according to Foote's test.
Orr has been adopting soldiers for years through three organizations: www.adoptaplatoon.org, www.soldiersangels.org, and www.webofsupport.com.
At first this mother of four young children just corresponded on a personal basis with soldiers. Then a card swap among members, where other "adoptive parents" sent cards to each other to sign, inspired her to take her support for soldiers a step forward.
Orr started collecting homemade cards from people in the community to send to the troops. For Christmas of 2006, she sent 19,000 cards to American troops. Last Valentine's Day, she sent 5,000 Valentines. Now she's sending Fourth of July greetings.
Her campaign is handled mostly by word of mouth, but Orr said, "The Greater Grayson Chamber of Commerce has done a phenomenal job of getting the community involved and getting the word out."
Orr has received cards from all over the nation.
"The Girl Scouts' contributions have been huge and we get lots of cards from schools and nursing homes," she said.
Any card will warm a soldier's heart, but they love cards from kids.
"Many of them have kids back home and they miss their kids. And the kids' cards are so sincere. One child wrote, 'When I get scared I squeeze my teddy bear. I wish you had a teddy bear to squeeze,'" Orr said.
Orr was especially touched by a card from an elderly Marine in a nursing home.
"It was a most wonderful card. I set it aside for a Marine," she said.
Orr says her mission is divinely inspired. "My purpose in life is to get word out that there are things ordinary people can do to tangibly support these guys. It's something God put in my heart that I have no explanation for."
To participate, send cards to Kat Orr, Operation: Thanks for Freedom, P.O. Box 1660, Loganville, GA, 30052.
Or, send an e-mail
of support to LoveFromHome@gmail.com. Any e-mail received will be printed and mailed with the cards. The deadline is June 9.
Orr asks that senders leave envelopes unsealed.
"This is not a dating service and I read every card to make sure it is appropriate," she said.
Kool-Aid packets are also welcome, but just a card, any card telling our troops we care, means everything in the world to them. And with Mr. Foote's permission, I'd like to make this No. 13 on his "prove-it" test.
Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at email@example.com.