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EXCHANGE: Christmas cards given to troops a way to give back

October 11, 2018

BRADLEY, Ill. (AP) — Some people complain about commercials. Bradley resident Connie Wietrzykowski gets things done.

When she returns home from work, she watches shows such as “General Hospital” and “Bewitched.” During breaks, she has a mission — writing Christmas cards for U.S. servicemen and women around the country and overseas. Meanwhile, husband Tom Vince Wietrzykowski cooks and washes dishes.

During an interview in her house, Wietrzykowski, 64, said she counted 4,450 cards with her messages.

“I keep making goals and then passing them,” Wietrzykowski said. “I currently want to make 4,500. If I go over, I go over.”

Hours later, she called the Daily Journal to say she recounted and found she already had reached 4,500, achieving yet another goal.

In 2017, her sister, Kathy, took on a card project, along with other relatives. Wietrzykowski chipped in. They put out about 3,000 cards, sending them last fall.

Last October, Wietrzykowski launched her own effort, with donations of cards from others. She writes a message in each one.

In one, she writes, ”(Your work) is very much appreciated. Please stay safe. Try to enjoy the holidays the best you can.”

The military has certain restrictions when volunteers write messages to soldiers: Among them, no glitter is allowed and envelopes must be open.

Wietrzykowski bundles the cards in groups of 50, then places them in cardboard boxes that once packaged fries, tortillas and hotcakes for McDonald’s in Bradley, where she has worked for 20 years.

In the next few weeks, Wietrzykowski plans to deliver her cards to a representative of a group that coordinates such deliveries.

One of the reasons Wietrzykowski wants to write the cards is that her husband served in the National Guard for two decades.

“I feel these soldiers are putting their life on the line,” Wietrzykowski said. “This is our way of paying back.”

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Source: The (Kankakee) Daily Journal, https://bit.ly/2Iegh02

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Information from: The Daily Journal, http://www.daily-journal.com

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