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thedrifter
11-28-06, 12:23 PM
Gaylord card campaign touches 2,500 in service
By Jil Schult, Journalism Intern

GAYLORD - A September card drive for the men and women aboard the USS Whidbey Island, a ship which berths nearly 450 Navy and Marine service people, resulted in 2,500 cards for the troops.

The idea for a card drive began when Cpl. Daniel Gonzalez, son of Leticia and Lonnie Musgrave of Gaylord, spoke with his mother and friend, Shari Parker, mentioning there were several Marines who were not getting much mail.

So he asked them to send a letter or care package to these forgotten heroes.

Between Parker and Gonzalez's mother, they started writing letters. Then they put up drop boxes for cards and contacted local schools.

The U.S. Postal Service paid the postage of the cards and letters.

The following is a letter from Gonzalez, giving thanks in his words:

It was by far the most amazing package that my unit has received since the beginning of the deployment. I try to keep in touch with my family as much as possible through e-mail, occasional phone calls, and of course hand-written letters. Sometimes it's hard, due to security reasons.

But if you ask any Marine, it is always a great feeling to hear your name being called out during Mail Call. It boosts morale to a max.

I had spoken with Shari Parker and my mom, Leticia Musgrave, letting them know that there were quite a few Marines that weren't getting much mail, and if they wouldn't mind sending them a letter or care package. And after letting them know this, they decided to put together this card drive, which was simply amazing.

These Marines have no idea who these kids were that were writing these letters, nor did the kids know who the Marines were. And that is what made it so special - that people back home were taking their time to write to us, to encourage us, and it did just that.

Being a Marine takes you away from those you love the most, quite often, and through the holidays it makes it even harder. If I can't be with my family for the holidays there is no doubt that I would want to spend my time with my 'Brothers' here in the Marines.

Knowing the fact that people back home are in full support of you gives you a feeling that no one will ever be able to understand unless they have been here. So in regards to all those that took their time to write us, giving us inspiration through the holidays, I would like to say ... Thank You on behalf of all the Marines and Corpsmen of Sierra Battery, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

God Bless.

Thank You,

Cpl. Gonzalez, Daniel A. USMC

The following schools participated in the card drive: Grace Baptist Christian, South Maple, Gaylord Middle, Vanderbilt, Johannesburg and St. Mary Cathedral. Ponderosa Restaurant sent a large red, white and blue Hallmark card with signatures from all of its employees.

Ellie