Dear Friends and Neighbors:
As families in Blanco, Caldwell and Hays counties celebrate with friends and loved ones this month, many of us will reflect about the thousands of service men and women that will be far from home this Holiday season. Across our communities and our state, Texans are joining millions of fellow Americans in reaching out to our military men and women and their families to share the holiday spirit. Our office has compiled a few ways we can express our gratitude to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and National Guardsmen during this special time and throughout the year.
A leader in this effort, the United Service Organizations (USO) has provided morale, welfare and recreation services to military personnel and their families for 66 years. Our troops and their families visited the 130 USO centers more than 5.3 million times last year for services that include free Internet and e-mail access, libraries and reading rooms, housing assistance, family crisis counseling, support groups, game rooms and nursery facilities. The USO also sponsors entertainment tours with the help of volunteer celebrities that entertain, lift morale, and express the gratitude of the American people. To learn how you can support the USO in its mission, please visit www.uso.org.
The USO is without a doubt the most recognizable, but we are fortunate that there are hundreds of nonprofits across our nation dedicated to helping our troops and their families. An in-depth online clearing house is hosted by the Department of Defense, and its web site (www.americasupportsyou.mil) categorizes these organizations according to the services they provide, such as donating computers or frequent flyer miles for families, helping to pay for phone calls home, or sending care packages to the troops, and provides links to local non-profits across our country that focus on each of these specific needs.
A holiday greeting card is also a meaningful yet simple way to touch the lives of our heroes, especially those injured service men and women who are receiving treatment at our military medical centers and their families. You can send a holiday card to wounded soldiers at the following facilities:
Army Community Services
ATTN: Judeth Markelz/Any Service Member
2010 Stanley Road, STE 95
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5095
Tripler Army Medical Center
Public Affairs Office
1 Jarrett White Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96859
Any Service Member
c/o Armed Services YMCA
Naval Medical Center, San Diego
34800 Bob Wilson Drive
San Diego, CA 92134-5000
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
ATTN: American Red Cross
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20307
Please note that due to the overwhelming outpouring of holiday wishes to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the American Legion National Office suggests bundling cards and mailing as a parcel; for example a church group could package 20 cards together and send them in one large envelope or small box.