Children smeared glue, applied cotton balls and wrote personalized messages on Christmas cards going to troops overseas.
â€œItâ€™s for the army,â€ said Ian Yount, a 7-year-old who participated in the Lincoln County Libraryâ€™s project. â€œBecause theyâ€™ve done some good things for us.â€
The individualized cards will be sent to Lincoln County soldiers stationed in Iraq, one of whom is the son of a library aid.
â€œAnything from home they welcome,â€ said Jane Shrum, the mother of Sgt. Marty Shrum. â€œWeâ€™re trying to keep them happy and fed.â€
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.
â€œWe figured if we did it soon, it would get to the troops by Christmas,â€ said Stephanie Osborne, a childrenâ€™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.
â€œThey canâ€™t share a lot,â€ said Shrum of news from Iraq.
Shrum and her husband are just happy to receive an e-mail or hear their sonâ€™s voice.
â€œYouâ€™re just real anxious, worried about their safety,â€ 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 soldiersâ€™ Christmas a little brighter.
â€œMaybe these cool, cool snowmen will make them feel cooler in that hot, hot desert,â€ 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 werenâ€™t so clear on the specifics of why they supported the troops.
â€œCause theyâ€™re nice to Santa?â€ 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.
â€œI donâ€™t know if they really understand the complete meaning,â€ said Osborne. â€œI think they understand the gist of whatâ€™s going on, especially the ones who have family over there.â€
Osborne made sure to keep the child-filled room free of politics.
â€œEverybody supports the troops no matter what their decision on the war is, everybody supports the soldiers,â€ she said. â€œWe thought that this would be our little way of reaching out to the kids and letting the kids reach out to them.â€
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.
â€œI decided I was going full force for the troops,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m just excited the kids have a chance to do something that puts a smile on troopsâ€™ faces.â€by Sarah Grano