Every year, people all over the world celebrate the spirit of the season by sending holiday cards to family and friends alike.
But at Lorain County Community College, students and staff spread the cheer a little further to those stationed overseas and those who served America in the past.
“I began this collection of cards in 2009,” says Learning Specialist, Kelly McLaughlin. “That was the year that nine marines were killed in Iraq who were from a battalion in Ohio.”
From there, McLaughlin knew something more needed to be done, especially with many not being able to see their loved ones during the holiday season.
According to McLaughlin, holiday cards make more of a difference than some may think. “They need to know that we haven’t forgotten about them. Whether they’re overseas, away from friends and family or veterans. We’re thinking about them and we appreciate their sacrifice,” she says.
For McLaughlin, sending these holiday cards has meant more to her and those around her, even going farther than she could imagine.
“In 2009, I was sending lots of Christmas cards and letters,” says McLaughlin. “There was this soldier that received my letter and he had plans of ending his life. He was having a tough time overseas alone and he wasn’t planning on coming back home. That card meant more to him than anyone could have ever imagined.”
This soldier made it home and has now made McLaughlin his children’s godmother.
“This is so important,” Said McLaughlin. “We never know what someone is going through and we have to try our hardest to reach out and be kind to those around us.”
McLaughlin soon after brought the idea to Lorain County Community College as part of the main campus’ Veteran’s services center. While taking a brief hiatus for Covid-19, the Christmas card collection hasn’t come to a full stop and returned in early November.
Throughout the course of the event, McLaughlin was able to collect 292 Christmas cards to send overseas. “They need to know that they are not forgotten, it’s really important to give our ongoing support,” she says.
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