By Kate Dwyer
WORDS can touch the heart, warm the soul and lift the spirit.
A simple letter to someone facing a tough time can make a positive difference.
The art of letter writing is making a resurgence as the Nationals Servicemen’s Association (Nashos) distribute and collect postcards for the troops.
The postcards feature local area photos and space for message to Australian troops serving overseas.
“Last year the response from people in the Camden Haven was remarkable,” said Port Macquarie Hastings Nashos secretary Ray Chesher.
“Particularly from North Haven Public School who wrote over 60 messages. Many also received letters back from our troops.”
Last year 2800 postcards were sent from the Port Macquarie Hastings to men and women serving in eight different theatres overseas and on warships. The cards are sent randomly to troops of various ranks.
The commander of one group taped the postcards they received to a wall in the mess hall and took a photo to show the sheer number of communications.
Many troops wrote back directly to students and other senders to say a simple thank you.
Last year Courtney Fullbrook, then student at North Haven Public School received a reply: “My name is Warrant Officer Class Two Troy Stacey .... I have been in the army for 18 years and have enjoyed every minute of it, well, not every minute, but very much most of the time. It was very comforting to know there are people in Australia, even young Australians who are aware of the things we are doing and the hardships soldiers face, and the little things that put a smile on a soldier’s face - well your card did! It is very hard for military families when their loved ones are away, but knowing what we are here to achieve, it is worth it, ensuring this country receives the same freedom my children, wife and your family enjoy.”
Teacher Kathy Regan received a reply from Army Sergeant Jason Bevis in Afghanistan: “I would like to thank you and your 63 students for their letters of support... Some of the situations I have been in and the things I have seen abroad on operations reminds me everyday how lucky we are to have Australia.... receiving letters of support makes me so proud of our nation and its people...”
Postcards for the troops renews the tradition of years past when people would write to soldiers serving in conflict, sending small gifts of comfort from home.
The Courier was fortunate to receive a letter from Judy Hawthorne of Hannam Vale, re-printed right, detailing how comforting a simple pair of socks can be to a soldier serving in World War 1.
Postcards will be available in June and November at the Camden Haven Courier office in Bold Street. When complete they can be handed in at the Courier for collection. Or contact Nashos secretary Ray Chesher on 0419 699 558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.