“Holiday Mail for Heroes” is a national campaign through the Red Cross to make sure past and present members of the armed services know they are not forgotten.

Nevis Lions Club president Barb Deery said she was first involved in the project as an employee of CHI St. Joseph’s Health.

“I was approached about doing this seven or eight years ago,” she said. “It has become one of my favorite projects. I come from a family that had a lot of military personnel and I have many friends who have been and still are in the military. I think it’s very important to honor our veterans. They gave us our freedom. Some of them paid a high price for that, for what we now have the privilege of enjoying.

“When I retired, I continued to do this through the Lions. I have a good friend, Chris Burling, who still works at the hospital, and she took cards to Century School and involved kids there. The American Legion Auxiliary helped also.”

Deery contacted Nevis history teacher Pete Phillips this fall to see if his students would be interested in participating. He was eager to have his students be a part of the project, and earlier this month, they wrote notes on Christmas cards provided by the Lions Club that will be distributed to service members throughout the state both at home and in hospitals.

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"Before they wrote the cards, students shared stories of people they knew who had served or are serving,” Phillips said. “The personal stories hit home. They were no longer just writing random cards, they were writing to someone's family."

The cards have been sent to the Red Cross in Duluth to be processed, organized and distributed so that service members will receive them in time for Christmas.

“Many cards were to thank them for their service,” Deery said. “Some students also shared about a family member who is in the military. Some of the younger kids drew pictures which the veterans just love.”