Murrysville church taking nominations, donations for ‘A Soldier’s Christmas’ program
Gordon Israelson of Murrysville knows the importance a handwritten note can hold for a soldier stationed overseas.
“Mail is kind of always a big deal,” said Israelson, who was stationed in Germany from 1969 to 1972 with the U.S. Army. “A long-distance call to Europe back then was amazingly expensive.”
Communication is much more swift nowadays thanks to email and Skype, but Israelson and the members of the Murrysville Alliance Church’s veterans’ ministry know the value of a well-timed care package, which is why they’re seeking nominations for their holiday program, “A Soldier’s Christmas.”
The program has been in place for more than a decade at the church.
“We want to send our expression of our love for them to any veteran stationed overseas,” Israelson said. “We get the nicest cards and letters back, especially from people on the front lines in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. They don’t have access to a (post exchange military store), so they can’t get a lot of stuff they need.”
In addition to nominations, the veterans’ ministry also is accepting donations of food, toiletries and other everyday items.
“We send snacks, toiletries, Christmas decorations and kids from the elementary schools will often make cards to send,” Israelson said.
Nominations can be submitted to the church office by calling 724-327-7206 and supplying a soldier’s name, rank if available and APO or FPO box number. Home addresses will not be accepted.
Nominations and donations are due by Nov. 22, so church officials have enough time to fill out the required customs forms to send items overseas.
Israelson said the care packages help bring comfort to people “in a place you wouldn’t ordinarily be, doing things you wouldn’t ordinarily do with people you wouldn’t ordinarily be with.”
For more, see MurrysvilleAllianceChurch.org.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .