Local Veterans Send Holiday Cheer to Those Currently Serving 

Since 2006, the American Red Cross has received and sent more than 6.5 million cards for American troops and their families, here in America and overseas.

Tuesday, residents at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor got involved in the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

Caitlin Burchill has the story.


Dean Pennypacker, 88, and Irene Gadoury, 93, both served in World War II.

They remember what it was like when they got mail overseas.

“It was a mad rush. Everyone would go and get a letter. A little news from home to pick us all up for the rest of the day,” said Pennypacker.

“I got a lot of cards and mail…Oh it just makes you feel good. You know that they’re thinking of you,” said Gadoury.

While they told me it’s a different type of war these soldiers are fighting, they hope they have the same reactions to the letters.

The American Red Cross has been doing the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program for years.

“We were active in the Civil War and active with the armed forces ever since, so it’s important for us and many of our programs to reach out to our service members to let them know people were thinking of them,” said Pat Murtagh, Regional CEO of American Red Cross Maine.

“Come home safe, your country loves you,” read Pennypacker from his letter to a veteran.

“Be safe and we all love you,” read Maine Veterans’ Home resident Louise Proctor. She added, “we don’t just like them, we love them.”

No matter how many miles away, they hope the cards make someone’s day.

“I hope they do. I’ll say my Hail Mary that they do,” said another Maine Veterans’ Home resident Kathleen Downes Jacobs.

“Oh they’re going to be tickled to death that they got a card. They will be pleased,” said Proctor.

Senator Susan Collins stopped by to thank the veterans for their service and to sign some cards too.

“To receive a card from a World War II veteran for example when you’re serving in Afghanistan or Iraq today means so much to our troops,” said Collins.

“I think it’s a good thing because lots of times it brings up the morale for the boys who are over there,” said Gadoury.

“I love to send a letter to somebody. I know how it feels,” said Pennypacker.