CARTHAGE — An area veteran is reaching out to the community to bring holiday cheer to deployed soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.
Nearly four years ago, Susan J. Perfetto of Calcium started organizing card-making events with schools, the JROTC Unit, Girl Scout troops and churches to send handmade cards to soldiers overseas.
It started with sending Christmas cards but then expanded to sending cards for Valentine’s Day and Easter.
“I hope we can do Memorial Day or Flag Day also,” said Mrs. Perfetto, a Navy Vietnam veteran.
“My ex-husband was in Vietnam for two tours and, when he came home, he was not welcomed by our country. I want to make a difference to our men and women who are fighting for our freedom,” she said.
When she came to the north country in 2009, she began sending care packages and letters to deployed troops. Due to financial and health issues, she has “had to find another way to make that difference.”
“God showed me the way and gave me the tools to do it,” she said of her Soldiermama Troop Greeting Cards venture. She said the cards give “hope and encouragement to our soldiers.”
Mrs. Perfetto has a son in the National Guard in Pennsylvania who is deployed to Kuwait.
“I needed a name when I did the newsletter for his” family readiness group, Mrs. Perfetto said. “His first sergeant called me ‘Mama,’ so I became Soldiermama.”
Mrs. Perfetto said she has gotten positive feedback from soldiers who have received the cards.
A soldier in Afghanistan wrote, “We have received the cards that the kids made and I have passed them around to the whole company and they love them. Many of the soldiers have decided to keep some and hang them in their offices and tents.”
Soldiermama Troop Greeting Cards supports six companies totaling about 250 soldiers.
Mrs. Perfetto said they always are in need of more cards.
Lowville Middle School, Carthage High School JROTC and Girl Scouts Troop 50087 all have made cards for the cause.
“They are doing an awesome job. The staff and principal are supporting us all the way. The kids are using kid magic on the cards,” she said of the Lowville students.
“JROTC at Carthage has a more mature approach with funny jokes for Valentine’s Day, and the Girl Scouts did a good job, too. There are three girls from the troop who will receive their silver awards as Cadets for the hard work of doing over 700 Christmas Cards. It took us months to get it all together.”
The cards are made with regular construction paper folded in half, then personalized with sayings, jokes and photos or drawings.
Soldiermama Troop Greeting Cards also is in need of monetary donations in order to pay for postage to send the cards overseas.
For more information about the organization, log onto the website at www.soldiermamatroopgreetingcards.com or visit Soldiermama on Facebook at www.facebook.com/soldiermamatroopgreetingcards.