Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Valentine factory for troops at Mesa mall in Grand Junction

January 15, 2008

Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will know they’re loved this Valentine’s Day, thanks to Mesa Mall and the Blue Star Moms in Grand Junction.

The mall and moms will make Valentine’s Day cards for troops at a “valentine factory” during the afternoons of Jan. 26-27 at the mall.

“The mall is totally supporting us,” said Wendy Hoffman, organizer with the Blue Star Moms. “They’re going to supply the paper and glue so people can make valentines.”People who may not want to make a card can sign one to show their support to troops serving overseas.

Blue Star Moms, a support group of parents and family members of soldiers serving, will also collect items to send to the troops.

What soldiers have been asking for indicates it’s cooled down in Baghdad, Hoffman said. Plus, much has been made about the snow that fell in the Iraqi capitol city.

Hoffman’s son, Pfc. Dallas Hanson, is serving in Baghdad in the Army with the 82nd Airborne. Monday morning, Hanson “was complaining about the 10 degrees Celsius,” Hoffman said laughing. “I said that’s not bad. That’s 50 degrees ... I can only hope.”

Still, though, “they’re dressed exactly the same way they were dressed when it was 110 above,” she said.

Soldiers have asked for socks, one-size-fits-all knit gloves, fleece blankets and the standard items like shampoo, toothpaste and soap.

The Blue Star Moms will also collect money to help pay postage to send boxes overseas. Over Christmas, the organization sent 64 boxes. For $25, a person or business can sponsor shipping a box to the troops.

The moms haven’t limited themselves in the number of cards they’ll send. “In a lot of these boxes, we will have more than one card. As many as we come up with, we’ll make sure the troops get them,” Hoffman said."

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