news_holiday_mail_heroesThe Whirlpool Cleveland Customer eXperience Center recently hosted a kickoff for the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign. Whirlpool employees and ARC volunteers flanked either side of the table while, from left, Lindsey Croy, Whirlpool human resources manager, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis; and Julia Wright, ARC executive director for Southeast Tennessee, signed cards (Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER).

The local American Red Cross chapter recently announced its annual Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign will go directly to veterans, active duty servicemen and women and the families of those serving in Southeast Tennessee.

Executive Director for Southeast Tennessee Julia Wright recently kicked off the initiative at the Whirlpool Cleveland Customer eXperience Center on 20th Street.

She said the holiday letters have been sent out to deployed soldiers in previous years. This is the first year the local Red Cross chapter will collect and distribute the cards.

“It gives our community an opportunity to say thank you to people who have served our country,” Wright said. “It also gives us an opportunity to help youth understand and have that lesson of giving to others and being appreciative to people you may have never met who are doing things for you.”

According to a recent ARC press release, the cards may be homemade or purchased. The cards should not contain money, photos, personal information or glitter. All cards must be returned to the local ARC chapter by Dec. 1.

Churches, neighborhood associations, schools, civic clubs, businesses and organizations are encouraged to join in on the holiday initiative.

Lindsey Croy, human resources manager at the Whirlpool Customer eXperience Center, said the center’s 650-strong employee base has already jumped on board. Center personnel reportedly started writing and signing cards four weeks ago in preparation.

“We value our veterans here and we want the community to know we support hiring veterans,” she said. “We feel very strongly about taking care of them. That is one thing we all want to do for our community.”

This is not the first year the Whirlpool Customer eXperience Center has showed their support for America’s heroes. Croy said the center collected 2,000 cards last year. The goal is to reach a record-smashing 5,000 letters.

According to Croy, each team within the center has been informed of how many they each need to write and collect to reach the goal. A mock mailbox has been set up in the cafeteria. Employees have been dropping off five to 20 letters at a time.

Croy said one employee sent several letters to a local elementary class for the children to sign.

“I really feel like [veterans] do so much for us,” she said. “The least we can do is write a thank you card and sign our name to it.

“I don’t know if parents today do a good enough job educating their kids on what the military does for us.”

Wright encouraged local members of the community to partner with ARC in the holiday initiative.

“All you need is a pen and a piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military make to protect our freedom,” she said. “It takes just a moment to sign a card and share your appreciation. It means the world to that military member.”

American Red Cross members will review the letters prior to their delivery to veterans, active servicemen and women and the families of active duty soldiers.

Completed cards and letters can be dropped off at 3856 Candies Creek Lane S.W., Suite D. Wright suggested contacting the ARC at 423-472-1595 to ensure someone is at the office prior to dropoff. Letters may also be dropped off at the Chattanooga office, 4115 South Access Road.

Read more at Cleveland Daily Banner – ARC launches Holiday Mail for Heroes.