When the Bob Hope stamp was released May 29, there was a flurry of "Support Our Troops" events encouraging Americans to send letters and care packages to military personnel serving in the Middle East.
And the initiative continues to gain strength.
Customers and employees, understanding they can send a Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box to any soldier serving overseas for $11.95, no matter how much it weighs, continue to send packages to soldiers from their communities and others they are meeting on websites including anysoldier.com.
"What a great feeling knowing that you can help send a message of love to those who are serving our country," said acting Cincinnati District Retail Specialist Janette Gugi Degen.
In Bryan, OH, Officer in Charge Suzanne Phillips, Bryan VFW Post 2489, WLZZ radio, Retired Army Major Larry Zeedyk and Sponsor the Troops, Inc. worked together to encourage customers to donate items to be sent to troops overseas at a "Support the Troops" day in Bryan.
Mayor Douglas Johnson presented the Bryan Post Office with a proclamation supporting the event, and Mike Queen, great-great nephew of Bob Hope, was in attendance as a Bob Hope stamp enlargement was presented to the Veterans Memorial Building Committee.
Volunteers helped collect and package items throughout the day resulting in more than 130 packages being filled and shipped to troops serving overseas.
The event had additional significance for Phillips, a retired Marine. Her daughter, Triah Pendracki, is currently serving in Iraq.
Austin, PA, Postmaster Jeff Lightner adds more boxes destined for the Middle East to an already growing number ready for shipment.
Austin, PA, Postmaster Jeff Lightner came up with the "Adopt A Box" program. "I collected names of area servicemen and women, and asked customers to ‘adopt’ a Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box and fill it for a local soldier serving overseas."
More than 60 boxes have been sent so far. "Response has been impressive," said Lightner.
"I had a feeling that a lot of people wanted to do something, but they didn’t know how," he said. "That’s where this idea came from, giving people a way to show their appreciation."
Lightner says the program will continue as long as there’s interest.
Corporate sponsors also have become involved. Turkey Hill
recently launched "Operation Hometown Hello" to support Pennsylvania
National Guard troops.
Representatives from Turkey Hill Minit Marts join postal officials at the Lancaster mail processing plant to mail two pallets of Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes for "Operation Hometown Hello."
Turkey Hill Minit Mart customers are invited to purchase items service members need at any of Turkey Hill’s 250 stores.
Local stores combine the items daily and pack them in Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes. Turkey Hill is donating the postage.
In Lima, OH, employees received a package from Afghanistan after they coordinated a "Support Our Troops" event in June when 100 packages were filled and shipped to military personnel.
The plaque presented to Lima, OH, postal employees.
"When I opened the package, there was a beautiful plaque," Degen said. "My eyes filled up with tears. These men and women, fighting for our freedom, had sent us an American Flag and a message which read, in part, This American flag was flown for the postal workers of Lima, Ohio.
"This was one of the nicest surprises I have ever received."
Mail from home is always welcome.