For U.S. Armed Forces personnel who are deployed overseas, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time for dealing with an extended separation from their friends and family back home.
To help give them a little boost of Christmas cheer, the members of the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club, United Methodist Church youth and children's services and Mahube's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) combined forces this past Wednesday on a greeting card service project.
In all, about 60 club members, along with five adult RSVP volunteers and staff and about 15 Methodist church youth and adult members worked together on close to 100 holiday-themed greeting cards to send to U.S. servicemen and women from the lakes area who are currently deployed overseas.
The cards were then packaged up and delivered to Becker County Veterans Service Officer Lauri Brooke and National Guard Family Support workers Daniela Johnson and Mark Sjostrom, who were tasked with putting addresses on the cards and sending them to the soldiers.
"We used old, recycled cards, stickers, fancy paper and other materials -- the kids made their own greetings and signed the cards," said RSVP program coordinator Amy Dallmann, who helped organize the project.
"When Amy called me and said they were thinking about doing this project, I said sure," said Pat Petermann, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. "Anything we can do for our community, and our soldiers, we'd love to be a part of it.
"It's exciting for the kids ... we love having new people come in here and have them become involved with these types of projects. It's a good teaching tool for them."
"I just think it's a great idea," said Nikki Larsen, children and youth services director for Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church. "It's a way to show our appreciation for what our soldiers have done and are doing for us."
Dallmann said that they may do a similar project in the spring as well, "so our servicemen and women aren't just getting cards once a year. We want to spread it out more, so thy know they're not forgotten."