By Paul Shockley
Grand Junction CO
January 28, 2008
“I hope your Valentines is radical” read one card.
Others, like the card crafted by 3-year-old Ximena Navarro, didn’t need any words. The girl went straight for stickers and liberally applied the hole puncher."
“Just a bunch a scribbling,” said mom, Patrisia Navarro of Fruita. “We have a friend in Iraq, so I told her to come make a card.” Most of Saturday’s card makers knew someone deployed. Within one hour after setting up shop Saturday at Mesa Mall, organizers with the Blue Star Mothers had about 50 handmade Valentine’s Day cards signed and ready to be mailed to U.S. troops abroad.
“If we can keep positive morale, there’s a better chance they come home safe,” said Wendy Hoffman, president of Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers. The local chapter of Blue Star Mothers was started last November — they meet [monthly] and are up to 14 members.
Over the weekend, they invited Mesa Mall shoppers to make Valentine’s Day cards or donate items for care packages to troops. Hoffman said they desperately need cash in order to mail the cards — hundreds are expected to be mailed, including cards crafted by youngsters at Lincoln Orchard Mesa, Dos Rios and Mesa View elementary schools.
Hoffman’s son, Army Pfc. Dallas Hanson, has been serving in Baghdad the past year. While Hanson’s received regular correspondence, Hoffman said others haven’t been as lucky. “He told me a friend of his stopped going to the mail room because his name never gets called,” Hoffman said.
While Hoffman’s Valentine card table saw an early rush, fewer and fewer Saturday shoppers stopped to work on a card. Three people walked past her tables and said they couldn’t take the time, which frustrated Hoffman. “It’s out of their consciousness,” she said. “But we have our freedom because of our troops.”
Reach Paul Shockley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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