OKLAHOMA CITY – Children and adults alike are invited to participate in the seventh consecutive “Holiday for Heroes” Christmas card program. The effort is organized by former state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs.
Youngsters are asked to hand-fashion Christmas greeting cards for U.S. military veterans who reside in Oklahoma’s seven state veterans’ centers, and for military personnel undergoing treatment at Fort Sill’s Reynolds Army Hospital (RAH) in Lawton and at the U.S. Veterans Affairs medical center in Oklahoma City.
Adults, too, have contributed, Dorman said. The Methodist Church class of former state legislator Jerry Ellis of Valliant sent cards one year, and the residents of a nursing home contributed handmade Christmas stockings another year, Dorman related.
Dorman, who ran as the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of the Sooner State, launched the program in 2010 and its popularity has mushroomed. The first year he collected 500 cards, which were delivered to RAH. Last year he received 8,237 cards that were handed out to both hospitals and the seven veterans’ centers in Oklahoma.
Initially only school children were asked to participate. “We’ve had schools from across the country make and send cards for this worthwhile project,” said Dorman, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Dorman recently announced he would not seek the state’s job as chief executive in the 2018 election.
However, reliable sources have told CapitolBeatOK, “In his heart, Joe still believes in Santa Claus.”
Because of growing interest, invitations to participate in the Holiday for Heroes program have been extended to Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and “anybody else who wants to help bring holiday cheer to our military personnel,” Dorman said.
The idea behind “Holiday for Heroes” came from an incident several years ago that involved middle-school kids in Dorman’s hometown of Rush Springs. The students sent dozens of handmade cards to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to cheer up military vets there; however, the package was returned unopened because of security concerns.
“So I contacted Reynolds Army Hospital and they gladly accepted the cards,” Dorman recalled. Since then the program has expanded exponentially.
“This is a wonderful way for children to honor our country’s veterans and wounded warriors, to thank them for their military service, and to let them know they have not been forgotten.”
“This is a great way to lift the spirits of our recovering soldiers and veterans to let them know we’re thinking of them during the holidays,” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “I would encourage students to also write a note thanking them for their service.”
The cards should be sent to Dorman by Saturday, Dec. 17, “so that we’ll have plenty of time to get them sent out.” The mailing address where the cards should be sent is:
Holiday for Heroes
P.O. Box 559
Rush Springs, OK 73082
Give a recovering politician a break, y’all! Actually, Dorman was a nice guy even when he was a politician. He can be reached by ‘phone at (405) 892-9205 and via email at [email protected] .
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this story.