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Cards Spread Holiday Cheer To Service Members

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(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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Carroll County Times

ELDERSBURG, Md. (AP) — A spread of art supplies was strewn across the table, from markers to paper, tape to glue sticks.

A 3-year-old boy dug through crayons, picking one more to scrawl his name, “Kylan,” on the card, the finishing touch to a letter that would be sent far, far from Carroll County.

The table stationed near the Eldersburg library’s bookshelves Dec. 2 was a place for children of all ages to create a card that would spread holiday cheer to veterans, military families and active-duty service members around the world. It’s the first year that Carroll County Public Library branches participated in the national Holiday Mail for Heroes program, according to Angie Knight, adult services supervisor at the Eldersburg library branch.

The concept is simple: Cards are made and then sent to the American Red Cross, which distributes the tens of thousands of letters around the globe.

And it’s a nod to the military, a small way to show that Americans honor those who are serving time abroad, Knight said.

“(It’s) something kids and adults can do to show that everybody’s still thinking about them,” she said.

During Christmas is a time when having a family member deployed overseas would be especially hard, Lauren Brushaber, of Eldersburg, said.

Yet, she knows what it’s like to be hundreds and hundreds of miles away from a loved one. This feeling prompted her to bring her 3-year-old son Kylan Brushaber to the library to make a card, as his dad is in the Air Force and has been deployed in the past, though not during the holiday season.

Kylan drew inside a pre-made card with the word “Peace” written nearby a white dove. On the inside, he’d scribbled a car, a heart and his name.

“All done,” he said, as his mom re-traced his name to make the word more legible.

A few minutes later, Cara Lemenager’s three girls wandered to the table, picking up paper to begin their cards. Mya, 7, picked up red, silver and blue stars, placing them around the message she’d written.

The girls’ father used to be in the military and was deployed several times for short periods, Cara Lemenager said. Now, he works for the government, recently serving as a language translator for two months in Jordan.

“I really feel for the families who have a year, 18 months (away) and do it repeatedly,” Lemenager said.

The Owings Mills resident saw the Holiday Mail for Heroes program on the Eldersburg calendar and immediately knew she wanted her daughters to participate.

After Mya dropped her letter in the red bucket for completed cards and Celia, 2, finished drawing on a pre-cut red ornament, the middle daughter called her mother over and handed her a completed card.

Lemenager read the front out loud: “Avery, age 5, Md.” Then she opened it up and read the message Avery had written inside: “You’re doing really good! Good 4 u!”

“That’s really pretty,” Lemenager told her daughter. “I think they’ll like that.”

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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