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Friday, April 01, 2005

Teen Thanks Troops

I was e-mailed this wonderful article about a young lady by the name of Christie Townsend. She is very proud and thankful of our troops and their families. This article explains her efforts to see that our men and women in uniform and their families do not go without...not if she can help it. She is a 17 year old that wants our Military to know that she/we have not forgotten.

You may find this article at Defense Link. Due to the significance of the story, I have excerpted some of the story for you. There are many stories that are worth your time you should go read at either Defense Link, America Supports You, and/or Kid Expressed.
America Supports You: Teen Inspires Expressions of Thanks
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2005 – Troops in Michigan will have no doubt that they and their families are appreciated, and it all started with a girl’s poem and soft spot for the military.

Christie Townsend of Rockford, Mich., now nearly 17, found inspiration for her poem “America’s Voice” from a pictorial history of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her poem was so powerful that it has been read at ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers, and it even earned her a letter from President Bush praising her creativity.

But Christie didn’t stop with the poem. She spent time before the holidays trying to make sure that troops deployed overseas could call their families back home. Her mother, Susan Townsend, said Christie raised about $5,100 in phone cards.
Instead of continuing on her own, she and her family took a suggestion to formalize Christie’s efforts in hopes of garnering support. Thus was born America’s Voice/Kid Expressed. The organization’s nonprofit status is pending, Susan said.

Kid Expressed sends care packages and works to make sure deployed servicemembers have post cards and greeting cards from back home. The group also tries to help in sending care packages that are waiting to be shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan by raising money to cover the postage.

Christie has worked with her family and Kid Expressed to put up three billboards in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area conveying deep appreciation for U.S. servicemembers. Two of the billboards are set to go up next week, and the third on April 11. The official kickoff for the boards will be on March 25. Retired Army Lt. Col. David Britten, principal of Lee Middle-High School, will help with the ceremony.

The boards carry the image of four saluting children in the full dress uniform of each of the armed services. The message is quite clear: “… To Our Defenders of Freedom and their Families … We Appreciate You Beyond Expression!”
Christie said she would like to see the billboards appear nationwide. In fact, she said, she has been told there is a spot available in the center of Times Square in New York City, but Kid Expressed doesn’t have the $100,000 necessary to make that happen. She’s more hopeful of getting one of the boards up near Walter Reed Army Medical Center here so that the servicemembers there know they have America’s support.

The motivation behind her own efforts[:] <...>“It means that America cares, that America has not forgotten,” she said. “It means that America does appreciate them beyond expression. For us to support them, it’s even a part of their healing to know that America supports them.”
"When those men and women are deployed, so are their families,” she said. “(The families) may not have to go to Iraq, but part of them is going to Iraq or Afghanistan.”
One important aim of the America’s Voice/Kid Expressed is expressed on its Web site: “It is also the goal of America’s Voice/Kid Express to inspire our future generation in the appreciation and support of our military.”

“That is my full intent,” Susan said, “to inspire these kids to, when they see a soldier, tell them, ‘Thank you.’”
Related Sites:America Supports You
America’s Voice/Kid Expressed