WO students send hundreds of holiday cards to U.S. troops overseas

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hundreds of military personnel stationed overseas will have their holidays brightened with handmade cards thanks to the caring students in West Orange schools.

For the past few years, students and teachers have created beautiful and unique handmade cards with messages of encouragement and support. The efforts began after WOHS Class of 2014 graduate Dylan Pennell was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.; Pennell had been instrumental in establishing the Jr. AFROTC program at the high school, and is currently serving aboard a destroyer somewhere in the Middle East.

“#ForOurTroops collects donations of toiletries, snacks and other goodies to fill care packages for our servicemen and women who will be stationed away from home during the holiday season,” Pennell’s mother, Suzanne, the #ForOurTroops chairwoman, said.

“For the past five years, my co-chair Kathy Pigott and I have asked local school districts to make cards and write letters of support and cheer to include in the boxes. The West Orange public schools have always responded to our request in a big and wonderful way, every year! The cards and letters are the most appreciated items in our boxes, as our military recipients tell us,” she continued. “This year, we are sending packages to local men and women, including West Orange graduates. Our collection will be mailing out over 100 boxes … and we are so grateful to the West Orange public schools’ teachers and students for their generous and creative spirit.”

In addition to the holiday cards for the troops, Gregory Elementary has “adopted” a veteran this year and Washington School will be sending cards to a veterans hospital. The high school is still busily creating cards to be sent to young patients at St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and Roosevelt Middle School not only created cards but collected supplies.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD