Off Topic: PSA: The truth about supporting our troops during the holidays

Once again posts are making their way around the internet encouraging people to send cards to “A Recovering American Soldier” c/o Walter Reed National Medical Center. As much as I am a HUGE supporter of showing love, appreciation, and support for those brave men and women who have made such sacrifices in service to our country this is NOT the most effective means of accomplishing this noble intention.

Due to security considerations Walter Reed Army Hospital does not accept cards addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier”. This has been the case since 2007 when Walter Reed issued the following statement:

“Walter Reed cannot accept these packages in support of the decision by then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. This decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.”

The decision applies to packages, letters, Christmas cards, or any other mail not addressed to a soldier by name.

Additionally the U.S. Postal Service has stopped delivering any mail that is addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier” or “Any Wounded Soldier,” which are the most common recommendations in the eRumors that circulate about sending messages to soldiers at Walter Reed.

Instead, Water Reed suggests making a donation to www.americasupportsyou.mil which is a site representing more than 300 organizations helping the troops in various ways.”

Another outlet for sending cards, letters, etc. to men and women in uniform is the Holiday Mail for Heroes program through The American Red Cross. Information is available at: http://redcrosschat.org/2011/11/03/holiday-mail-for-heroes-2011/

When putting together care packages for deployed troops, please be aware that there are certain restrictions based on where they are stationed. Go to http://www.oconus.com/ZipCodes.asp and type in the zip code of the APO or FPO Zip Code to make certain you aren’t sending a well-intentioned gift that is going to cause more harm than good.

Many of these restrictions are in place out of respect for the culture of the country in which our troops are deployed and are as much for the protection of our troops as anything else.

PLEASE feel free to “Share” this information!

As the daughter and wife of retired soldiers I can tell you that support from total strangers sometimes means as much as, if not more than, that from family and friends simply because strangers don’t “have to” make these efforts.

Thank you!

Thanks for your encouragement!

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