By: Paula Walter
For several years, Johnson Countian Lorraine Darocha has worked with seniors at the Johnson County Senior Center in making and decorating both Christmas and birthday cards for their friends and family. She has extended this program to include fifth and sixth grade, middle and high school students who are part of the after school program at the Mountain City/Johnson County Community Center.
The students are able to choose from various card designs that they are then able to decorate and personalize.
“It started with making Christmas cards and has now evolved into other holidays,” said Darocha.
This year, a total of 69 students in grade five through high school seniors helped to make cards for Veterans Day, along with 37 senior citizens.
According to Darocha, there were eight to 10 different style cards to choose from that were designed not only by Darocha, but her granddaughter, Rebekah and daughter-in-law, Diane, along with Barry Altman and Nancy Bailey. Beverly Weatherford helped the students with their card message for Veterans Day.
Darocha sends the cards to veterans through Operation Gratitude. This organization has sent over 200,000 care packages this year alone to service men and women who are deployed overseas, to their children, as well as to veterans, new recruits, first responders, wounded heroes and their caregivers. Since Operation Gratitude began in 2003, the organization has sent over 1.5 million care packages that are packed with snacks, hygiene items, along with hand made gifts, as well as letters of appreciation. In 2013, the organization delivered its 1,000,000th package with a goal of 2,000,000 packages.
If you are interested in reading letters of thanks and pictures from recipients, visit https://www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude/.