Brookings-area resident Carol Swain has just mailed 5,000 letters to U.S. soldiers around the world, an annual holiday gift for the men and women serving America.

Each letter is written by members of the Brookings Emblem Club and includes a simple message.

“We want to thank them for their service to our country,” Swain said. “And each individual writer can add whatever else they want to say. I wrote about my grandsons, who were in the military.”

One such letter reads, in part: “I hope this letter finds you safe and in good health. I would like you to know that you, and your family and your friends, are in my thoughts and prayers.”

Each person who writes a letter receives in turn a certificate and pin from the Emblem Club.

Swain said the letter-writing effort is an important gesture “because a lot of the men and women serving in the military don’t get mail and don’t have families that write to them. And the soldiers tell us they are appreciative of getting our letters.”

Swain said some of the writers continue their correspondence with the soldiers throughout the year.

For the Christmas letters, Swain begins by reminding people in June so they have time to write what they want. She collects the letters and places them in a box to be mailed Nov. 13 to a military service coordination center, which passes the letters on to the soldiers.

The Emblem Club has been conducting the holiday letter campaign for approximately 15 years, she said.

To pay for the postage, Swain and the club conduct two breakfasts annually, one in February and one in August. “Unfortunately, our August breakfast didn’t make as much money as we need, so we are conducting a third breakfast this Sunday from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to raise more money,” she said.

“It will cost roughly between $1,500 and $2,000 to mail the letters.”

Swain said the breakfast will cost $8 for adults, $4 for children 12 and under. person and include pancakes, scrambled eggs and a choice of chicken fried steak, bacon or sausage, plus coffee, tea or juice. The event will be held at the Brookings Elk Lodge, 800 Elk Dr.

To donate, or to become involved with the holiday letter campaign, call Swain at 541-661-1236.


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