Scouts brighten the lives of our troops
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Boy Scout Troop 98 has been named the top troop in America for sending the most cards - over 3,000 - to military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the Scouts that have written the most are, left to right, Chris Major, Joey King, Doug Stangl, Dayne Coleman, Robert Nemecek, Eric Bond.
Boy Scout Troop 98 of Brodheadsville has done it again.
For the second year in a row, the troop has received a letter of recognition and a trophy from Friends of Our Troops for being the number one scout troop in the nation to write out the most Christmas cards for members of the United States military serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. They wrote out over 3,000 cards.
The greetings are a way of saying "Thank you" to the men and women serving the country and to let them know that they are not forgotten, especially during the holidays when it's very hard being far away from home. This act of kindness is their effort to make the holiday a little bit brighter for the men and women in the service.
A few years ago, Dave Weinman, Troop 98 scoutmaster, saw an article in "Boy's Life" magazine about "Fan Mail for the Troops," a program of Friends of Our Troops based in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
He thought it would be a great project for his boys and they've been doing it ever since.
Some of the cards are brought in by the scouts. Paul Schuchman of Odd Lots in East Stroudsburg donated thousands of cards to them as well.
The scouts write a short personal bio about themselves and their troop. They make copies of the bio, paste them in the cards and then personally sign each card. The cards are sent to Friends of Our Troops who then forward them to the service men and women overseas.
The individual scouts receive a certificate and a pin for their participation from Friends of Our Troops.
Chris Major, a senior at PVHS, wrote out the most cards (230) in the troop. He gets how meaningful this project is because his sister is in the United Sates Navy and is usually far from home. Getting mail from home is something she looks forward to.
"I know how much the cards mean to our troops because they write back and tell us how much they appreciate it. They talk about themselves a bit and their families, how much longer they have until they come home. It means a lot to us to know they took the time to write back," says Chris.
"I'm very proud of all their efforts and their dedication to thanking the troops for their service," says Weinman.
Boy Scout Troop 98 meets weekly at the Pleasant Valley Elementary School cafeteria Tuesdays from 7-8:30 p.m.