Soldiers, veterans recognized through letters, care packages


St. Edward’s hosted the Write a Letter to a Soldier campaign. 

Every year, military personnel across America are recognized for the distinguished service and sacrifices they have made for their country.

While the city of Austin hosted parades and other ceremonies in honor of Veteran’s Day, St. Edward’s University took part in their own activities to recognize those who have served or are currently serving in the military.

At St. Edward’s, five of the Brothers are service veterans. On Nov. 11 the Brothers said a prayer for all military personnel, at home and abroad, including the 132 veterans who are undergraduate and graduate students at St. Edward’s.

“We said the prayer of Saint Martin of Tours,” U.S. Army veteran Brother Walter Gluhm said.

As lunchtime rolled around, students were encouraged to participate in the “Write a Letter to a Soldier” event held in the Ragsdale lobby.

Organized by the St. Edward’s Veteran’s Affairs Office and the Hilltop Student Veteran Association, their efforts allowed for the collection of over 150 letters from students and staff.

Other organizations who greatly contributed to the success of this year’s Write a Letter to a Soldier campaign were the employees of the Health Services Office and the Financial Aid Office, along with students of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) who made posters and yellow ribbons and baked goodies, and informed other students of the campaign by passing out flyers.

Student and U.S. Air Force veteran Lance Jasper commented on his time in service.

“Now that I’m back home, I am more appreciative of everything here,” Jasper said. “While I was deployed, I learned different customs and got to travel to different places.”

However, the Write a Letter to a Soldier campaign was the first step of a two-part initiative.

For several years now, the student letters have been accompanied by personal care packages that soldiers receive around Christmas time.

Soldiers particularly like protein-based foods and smaller packs of things or individually wrapped items.

“When they go on missions, they need small things that they can stuff in their pockets or backpacks,” Veteran Affairs Coordinator Chris Garcia said.

For those who have an excess amount of meal plan money, a good way to spend it is to buy goodies for soldiers.

Several faculty and staff are encouraging their students to contribute to the care packages for America’s troops, with some professors even offering extra credit to participate.

“We sometimes get wrapped up in the holidays with our own families, and we tend to forget about those who are away from their families,” Garcia said. “So sending a little piece of home to a person as a way to say thank you means a lot for military people and shows that we are a caring community.”

All items may be turned in to Chris Garcia in Main Building, Office of Student Financial Services, no later than Dec. 3.

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