Just as the holiday season came to life, with a blanket of snow coating everything in sight, a gift was given to American Training. Anita Moreau, the grandmother of our Colleague Jimmy Allicon, donated more than 150 holiday cards to our Vanway team. As Jimmy tells it, she’s well aware of our penchant for spreading joy, so she thought the cards would be a wonderful way for us to reach out.
She gifted them to our Vanway Director, Robin Gazelian. She didn’t know how but she knew she wanted to spread WOW! Magic in a meaningful way, so she started brainstorming how to use the cards. She thought of many very deserving recipients. Then, it came to her. She would send them overseas to our troops who are unable to enjoy the holidays with their families at their side.
“Thinking of others and spreading cheer is the true meaning of Christmas,” said Robin, “which is why I brought my team and a few Guests together to fill these cards with thoughtful words and warm greetings.”
She invited along some drivers and monitors as well as a few of our Guests – Amy, Beth, and Jeffrey – put out a spread of hot cocoa and cookies, filled the room with Christmas music, and they got to work.
One of our drivers, Wesley Garcia, said the experience was festive. “I enjoyed working together with our Guests sipping hot cocoa, listening to the holiday music, while filling these cards with warm wishes.”
Our Guests Amy and Beth sang along to the songs as they stuffed envelopes and shared thoughtful messages in the cards, while Jeffrey said he enjoyed being a part of something so meaningful.
The hope is that the joy felt in the room spreads to the recipients as they open their cards.
“I hope these cards let them feel the magic we feel daily,” said Jimmy. “It’s our way to give them a taste of the WOW! Magic and boost their spirits.”
Robin worked with our local Veterans’ Services in Lawrence to find two local soldiers to send the cards to. The Lawrence-natives have agreed to distribute them among their troops.
“My whole purpose with this project is to send cards to our troops who can’t be with their families for the holidays,” said Robin. “I hope these cards make them smile.”
Wesley added, “It’s important because they’re not going to be surrounded by their families at a time when we typically surround ourselves with loved ones. So, I hope that they feel the holiday cheer and warmth through the colorful and festive imagery and kind words.”
To find out how you can help your local service-members now and throughout the year, contact your local Veterans’ Services office.