Team Hill members were the lucky recipients of more than 21,000 holiday greeting cards this week, filled with messages of love, support and genuine caring.
Written by military supporters from around the country, the cards were sent to Utah courtesy of the Holiday Cards for Our Military Challenge.
Dr. Laura Landerman-Garber started the challenge before Thanksgiving dinner in 2003 by simply asking her family to write messages of appreciation to military members on holiday greeting cards. She called it her family’s ‘ticket to turkey’ dinner.
Cards from this endeavor are usually sent to overseas locations, but due to COVID-19, military members and families inside the U.S. are also receiving cards.
“We were sending cards to deployed troops; however, to counter separation, loneliness, feelings of disconnect over this holiday season, we decided to offer this to all military and civilian members and their families albeit ’deployed-in-place due to COVID-19,’ said Lt. Col. Jason “JJ” Johnson, who serves on the board as the vice president in charge of military and veteran affairs.
Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander, said she was grateful to receive these holiday cards, especially since many people aren’t able to gather and celebrate with family this year and could possibly be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and disconnectedness.
“It’s wonderful to receive such an outpouring for our military and civilian heroes here in Utah, letting Team Hill members know that they’re not alone during this unprecedented winter holiday season,” she said. “These messages of gratitude and inspiration from across the country will help lift the spirits of our Airmen and show them that they are supported.”
The cards, a mixture of both commercially produced and handmade by children and adults, were sorted into bundles of 50 at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, where Hill first sergeants picked up what they needed for their unit.
“We are honored that Team Hill was chosen as recipients of this outpouring of gratitude.” said CMSgt. Christopher Walker, 75th ABW command chief. “Our military and civilian Airmen have endured through challenging times this year and they continue to make miracles happen every day. We hope these cards let them know they are truly valued across this country and that what they do matters.”
Master Sgt. Amber Costello from Hill’s AFRC said sending a card may seem like a small gesture but the result can be tremendous.
“You never know what a small act of kindness can do to someone’s day,” she said. “I am thankful to be part of helping our team at Hill feel connected during the holiday season. I think that these greeting cards mean a little more this year due to COVID.”