TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—According to the American Legion, 200,000 soldiers won't be home for the holidays. That's why Post 492 in West Lafayette is making sure those soldiers know how much their country appreciates them.
In a News 18 update, we're checking in on Post 492's 'Letters From Home' campaign. As we previously reported, the post launched the campaign on Veterans Day. The goal was to collect and send 10,000 letters to deployed units for the holiday season.
The goal was met about halfway, with a grand total of 4,630 letters collected as of Wednesday night.
Officials at Post 492 say it could not have been done without everyone who contributed.
Boxes were set up all over the community to collect the letters, including at VFW posts, the Veterans Success Center at Purdue University and local American Legion Posts. Many letters were collected from classrooms at local schools, and Post officials told News 18 some letters came from as far south as Carmel.
Jenny Shields, an Executive Board Member with Post 492's Auxiliary, said the letters from children are really going to make soldiers feel special.
“It’s gonna bring them a big smile," Shields said. "They’re going to be so happy to read something like that, knowing that a little second grader says "Thank you for your service." That’s gonna be awesome.”
Now, the nearly 5,000 letters are being sent all over the world; including units in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and a Navy ship abroad. These units have soldiers who are from Tippecanoe County, so they will receive some local love.
Shields had the job of reading letters before they were sent off. She shared some of her favorite lines that were written to the soldiers.
"When I grow up I want to join the army, I want to be a soldier just like you. Come home safe, happy holidays, sorry you can't be with your family, thank you for protecting our country and we love you."
The last day to turn in letters was Saturday. However, the Legion is checking its mailbox every day. So if you have letters drop them off ASAP.
The legion is still looking for addresses of deployed units to send letters. As of now, only five have been submitted. If you know of a soldier or unit that is deployed, the legion would like that information so letters can be sent to them. Call Post 492 at 765-463-9314.