The start of the holiday season is approaching, and with it brings about a time when people begin to think of spreading joy to others. It is in this holiday spirit that one particular organization is enabling individuals to support U.S. soldiers who are overseas fighting for the country’s freedoms everyday. The Adopt A U.S. Soldier program, started in 2005 by Ann Johnson, connects deployed soldiers with those seeking to show their gratitude.
The U.S. soldiers, stationed overseas miss their homeland and posses an overwhelming feeling of jubilation to hear from the people who appreciate the sacrifices they make for us all. When Ann Johnson’s son Paul was deployed to Iraq, she wrote him a letter once a week and when she sent him a care package, Paul shared it with his unit. The troops were thrilled to receive items from home. Ann’s friends found out and started sending Paul packages too, which he then shared with his platoon. The amount of supporters grew exponentially and today, Adopt A U.S. Soldier, according to the website adoptaussoldier.org, “is active in over 170+ countries/ territories/ independent states with over 1,000,000 active volunteers supporting our troops.”
Kelly Watters, a registered nurse in the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Broward Health Medical Center, signed up with the Adopt A U.S. Soldier program about a year and a half ago. She was in love with a soldier 20 years ago who was deployed and all he asked of her was to write him letters while he was away. Unfortunately he was killed in action and never made it back home to see her again.
While researching good causes for the hospital to get involved in as a community outreach program, Kelly stumbled upon The AAUSS program. Sounding very dear to her heart, Kelly knew the program could brighten up the lives of the men and women deployed overseas. With the memory of her fallen loved one whom she lost 20 years earlier, she knew how much enjoyment and excitement a soldier feels when getting a letter from back home.
Kelly brings awareness to the program by speaking to groups and sharing her experiences. She is now on her fifth soldier in the course of a year and a half and finds that the program is beneficial to the soldiers and feels very rewarded to participate.
According to The Adopt A U.S. Soldier organization, “most deployed troops hardly ever receive a thank you, a kind word, or even a card or letter from home, let alone a simple care package to remind them what they’re fighting for.”
This holiday season you can make a difference in someone’s life. By adopting a soldier through the Adopt A U.S. Soldier program you too can have the opportunity to connect with soldiers overseas in order to show them your support. Go to adoptaussoldier.org and make a rewarding difference for you and someone else.