Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At Holiday Cards for the Troops event, volunteers help deployed service members connect with loved ones

Debbie Fisher, left, and Dorren Donovan make cards Saturday at the Holiday Cards for the Troops event. The cards will be forwarded to troops, who can then send holiday wishes to loved ones.

Krystel Knowles | Special to the Times

Debbie Fisher, left, and Dorren Donovan make cards Saturday at the Holiday Cards for the Troops event. The cards will be forwarded to troops, who can then send holiday wishes to loved ones.

BRANDON

Dozens of people lined up before the doors opened at Center Place on Saturday for a chance to make a difference.

For some, participating in Holiday Cards for the Troops, an annual event aimed at spreading cheer between deployed military and their families, is part of their contribution to the community. For other guests, the event touches deeper.

Kelle March knows all too well the feeling of being worried and scared for deployed soldiers. March's two sons went into the military shortly after graduating high school because they wanted to serve their country.

Although March's older son completed two deployments and is back in the United States, the holiday season remains very difficult. Her younger son, Dominic Viccari, 25, is currently deployed to an undisclosed location and won't be back until May.

"We celebrate the holidays more unconventional," March said. "Whenever all the family is together is our holiday."

March was one of 210 volunteers who participated in the 4th annual Holiday Cards for the Troops event. She says she wanted to help spread love for the holidays.

"This is my way of letting them know they are not forgotten and that we are thinking about them," March said.

Dawn Galia, executive director of Center Place, said the Cards for the Troops is a heartfelt gathering in which guests decorate cards that are sent to deployed service members.

The soldiers are then able to write a holiday wish to their loved ones on the cards and give them something to hold on to and keep close to their hearts.

As volunteers cut, pasted and glued 2,500 cards Saturday, they shared their stories about family members' past and current deployments.

Others learned about the struggles military families are going through and the strength it takes to patiently wait until the return of their loved one.

"My daughter's best friend, who is considered part of the family, is currently deployed, and we think about her every day," Galia said.

Krystel Knowles can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

>> fast facts

How to participate

People may send addresses of deployed troops to Center Place executive director Dawn Galia until Oct. 22. She will forward the cards to the service members. For more information, e-mail cpfinearts@verizon.net or call (813)685-8888.

At Holiday Cards for the Troops event, volunteers help deployed service members connect with loved ones 10/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle town

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  2. Registered sexual predator charged in assault of woman in Brooksville

    Public Safety

    Times Staff Writer

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County deputies arrested a registered sexual predator Thursday after they say he attempted to assault a woman and fled into a storm drain.

    Lee Roy Rettley has been charged with attempted homicide, attempted sexual battery and home invasion robbery.
  3. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags

    Autos

    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]
  4. Former CEO of Winn-Dixie parent joining Hong Kong company

    News

    The former CEO of the Jacksonville-based parent of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Ian McLeod, has landed a new leadership role in Hong Kong. He is joining the pan-Asian based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive.

    Ian McLeod, who is stepping down as the CEO of the parent company of Winn-Dixie, has been hired by Dairy Farm International Holdings. 
[Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers]
  5. Eckerd Kids: Teens in group foster homes must be allowed to keep phones

    News

    TAMPA — For many teens still reeling from being taken into foster care, a cell phone is a lifeline, child advocates say.

    Eckerd Kids, the agency that runs child welfare in Tampa Bay, will in January require agencies that run group foster homes to allow children to use cell phones. Some group homes are concerned that children may use phones for unathorized contract with their parents or other adults or to post pictures of other foster children on social media