Marge Woodfin, Pilot staff writer

As she has every year in early November since 1969, Terry Clawson mailed Christmas letters to U.S. Troops on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Clawson, who began her Christmas letter mailing efforts in

association with the American Legion in Montana, continued that

activity in Brookings in 2000 as part of an Americanism project with

the Brookings Emblem Club.

That first year, the Emblem Club sent 456 letters. This year Clawson mailed 10,045 Christmas letters.

The Emblem Club has received two trophies as the number one

organization in the nation for sending fan mail to the troops for the

last two years.

The letters, she said, were written by approximately 25 people including members of the Emblem Club, the Brookings Elks Club and friends, and even visitors from Las Vegas.

In addition to rounding up letter writers to help her, Clawson solicited donations and organized fundraising breakfasts to raise money for the postage. She sent a check for $1,500 to the Troop Fan Mail Friends of the Troops organization in Fayetteville, N.C, to cover postage for mailing the letters, plus approximately $300 to mail three heavy boxes filled with letters weighing 140 pounds.

"A lot of people donated checks of $20 or so, even from Smith River and Crescent City," she said. "And the merchants are so generous. The banks and title and mortgage companies held fundraising coffees for us."

She added, "The letters will be shipped to 1,000 different bases, ships, hospitals, and (U.S.) Coast Guard stations. We owe it to them. It's the least we can do. We want to do everything we can to let them know we care."

Clawson expressed appreciation to Harbor Postmaster Gene Reiling, who always helps her unload the boxes, as well as the Brookings Marine Corps League, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Brookings-Harbor Red Shirts who donate to the project.

Friends all know what Clawson will be doing in early August next year andndash; once again organizing her Christmas letters for the troops. She said she is determined to continue the effort to let the troops know that the folks at home love them and appreciate their service to the country.