Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008 • Blue Star Mothers launch Letters from Home Project

A dozen or so members of the newly formed Blue Star Mothers, a group formed in Lassen, Plumas and Modoc counties to support family members serving in the military, wasted little time in deciding to take an active role in the community.

The members met in the basement of the Veterans Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 16 to discuss a wide variety of possible future activities for the local chapter of the national organization.

While the members all supported more passive activities such as hanging the Blue Star Flag in their homes and wearing Blue Star apparel, participating in parades and the Lassen County Fair, they wanted the organization to have a higher profile and make a bigger contribution to those serving in the military.

After much discussion, the group decided to launch its first project — Letters from Home. The group plans to send the letters to units deployed overseas with local soldiers.

Originally the idea was to collect Valentine’s Day cards from young local students and mail those to the troops, but that idea quickly ran into a number of roadblocks.

Staff Sgt. Lyman Moak, a local U.S. Army recruiter who’s helping with the group, said letters from elementary school students are better than letters from high school students because they have “more impact on soldiers.”

And he said photographs of kids “touch a lot of soldiers.”

But as the group tried to figure out how to get the letters from the elementary school students to the troops, it became obvious obstacles such as deadlines, parent notification, cooperation with the schools, the cost of paper and supplies and the possible disruption of having young students writing Valentines in early January were probably insurmountable.

Then the discussion turned to sending letters to the troops instead of Valentines Day cards.

In the end, the Blue Star Mothers decided to open its first project to the entire community.

Moak said there are many restrictions to sending mail to a particular solders, but he said the group could send a package of letters to the commanding officer of the units in which local soldiers are deployed. The commanding officer could then distribute the letters to the troops.

Unsealed letters not addressed to any particular soldier can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Marine Recruiting Office located at 2850 Main St., Suite 1A, across from Walmart. Moak said if the office is closed, letter writers should drop their letters off later because there is not a mail slot in the door.

The deadline to drop off letters is Saturday, Jan. 31. The letters will be packaged and put in the mail on Monday, Feb. 2. The letters should reach the soldiers in all branches of the military by Valentines Day.