Letter writing campaign for overseas soldiers gets crowd into holiday spirit


    A large and diverse crowd came to participate in the letter writing campaign  to benefit overseas soldiers.

    The event was hosted on Tuesday by the university's chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS).

    Christian Perez, NSCS president, said said students, members of TCU police, families from the area, faculty, staff, veterans, alumni and even the man who was SuperFrog from 1984 to 1986 came out to write notes of gratitude and holiday well-wishing.

    Ajay Gersemehl, NSCS vice president of public relations, said more than 100 letters and cards were written to overseas service members during this campaign for the United Service Organizations.

    A banner from NSCS and the university community that thanked soldiers for their service had even more notes and signatures, Gersemehl said.

    Ray Chavez, former Army health care specialist, stopped by the event with his family.

    He said he was surprised at the amount of people who passed by the campaign without stopping to participate.

    “It took me maybe five minutes to write my letter, and I can't remember how many people walked away from the table saying they would come back and do it later,” Chavez said. “It may seem like nothing to a normal citizen, but it has a huge impact on a soldier.”

    During two 1-year deployments, he said, receiving letters from people made him appreciate what he was doing and gave him a sense of pride.

    “It is always nice to be reassured you are doing the right thing and people are grateful for you,” he said.

    Chavez said he responded to all letters he received, and sometimes he would keep in touch with the people who wrote to him for months.

    “It helped pass time, and I think it let people know that their letter reached someone and had a positive impact,” he said.

    Perez said the most touching part of the event for her was seeing veterans like Chavez and his family participate. Perez said that Chavez’s young daughter drew pictures for soldiers while he wrote a long letter.

    “He hung out with us for a while and told us stories about how much it meant to him and his friends when they were overseas and got letters like these over the holidays, how happy it made them,” Perez said.

    Gersemehl said that some people who stopped by mentioned that they did not support the war, but they still gave their support to the individuals overseas.

    “Even if you don't support the war, it was nice seeing they supported the soldier,” she said. “It's easy to forget underneath the uniform they are someone's wife or husband, son or daughter or childhood best friend.”

    Located on the first floor of the Brown-Lupton University Union from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the campaign attracted people attending the annual Christmas tree lighting, Perez said, which was at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Commons. The group had to extend the letter writing campaign until about 7:30, since such a rush came in after the tree lighting.

    “I think [the campaign] really helped people get into the spirit of the holidays and into the spirit of giving,” Perez said.