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Christmas spirit shipped to troops

Children smeared glue, applied cotton balls and wrote personalized messages on Christmas cards going to troops overseas.
“It’s for the army,” said Ian Yount, a 7-year-old who participated in the Lincoln County Library’s project. “Because they’ve done some good things for us.”
The individualized cards will be sent to Lincoln County soldiers stationed in Iraq, one of whom is the son of a library aid.
“Anything from home they welcome,” said Jane Shrum, the mother of Sgt. Marty Shrum. “We’re trying to keep them happy and fed.”
Shrum and her husband often send their son goodies overseas. The packages always include treats for his 50 fellow soldiers.
The next shipment will contain hand-stamped, colored and cotton-balled snowmen Christmas cards from local children.
“We figured if we did it soon, it would get to the troops by Christmas,” said Stephanie Osborne, a children’s librarian who planned the event.
Shrum learns little about what happens to her son overseas, but she does know he appreciates every gift she sends his way.
“They can’t share a lot,” said Shrum of news from Iraq.
Shrum and her husband are just happy to receive an e-mail or hear their son’s voice.
“You’re just real anxious, worried about their safety,” she said.
Their son has been stationed in Iraq since February, and the couple hopes to ring in the new year with news of his return home.
In the meantime, a room full of children kept busy creating cards to make the soldiers’ Christmas a little brighter.
“Maybe these cool, cool snowmen will make them feel cooler in that hot, hot desert,” said Kristen Short to a young friend she was baby-sitting.
The children who made the cards knew where their creations would be sent, but some weren’t so clear on the specifics of why they supported the troops.
“Cause they’re nice to Santa?” asked 6-year-old Elizabeth Farris.
Some of the older children had a better grasp on what is happening in Iraq, but most were just content coloring and stamping their cards.
“I don’t know if they really understand the complete meaning,” said Osborne. “I think they understand the gist of what’s going on, especially the ones who have family over there.”
Osborne made sure to keep the child-filled room free of politics.
“Everybody supports the troops no matter what their decision on the war is, everybody supports the soldiers,” she said. “We thought that this would be our little way of reaching out to the kids and letting the kids reach out to them.”
By the end of the afternoon, the cards had been colored, stamped to perfection and decorated with cotton.
Each one had originally been stamped with a winter wonderland design by volunteer Debbie Slone during a dedicated five hour stamping stint.
“I decided I was going full force for the troops,” she said. “I’m just excited the kids have a chance to do something that puts a smile on troops’ faces.”by Sarah Grano

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