• Janelle Carter (left) has supported troops overseas since the Vietnam War. Currently, she is sponsoring five Soldiers through the Adopt a US Soldier program.

    Programs for troops continue to bring joy on all fronts

    Janelle Carter (left) has supported troops overseas since the Vietnam War. Currently, she is sponsoring five Soldiers through the Adopt a US Soldier program.

  • Soldiers from Task Force Courage unload mail at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Some packages may be from friends and family, while others may have been sent by people involved in programs such as Adopt a US Soldier, Any Soldier or Books for Soldiers. The programs are designed to bring a little piece of comfort and home to those who are deployed around the world.

    Programs for troops continue to bring joy on all fronts

    Soldiers from Task Force Courage unload mail at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Some packages may be from friends and family, while others may have been sent by people involved in programs such as Adopt a US Soldier, Any Soldier or Books for Soldiers. The...

  • The late Staff Sgt. Gordon Carter stands next to his Jeep, Lela Mae, in an undated photo from the Phillipines. Carter's daughter, Janelle, has sent packages overseas since the Vietnam War, and she continues to support troops today through the program Adopt a US Soldier.

    Programs for troops continue to bring joy on all fronts

    The late Staff Sgt. Gordon Carter stands next to his Jeep, Lela Mae, in an undated photo from the Phillipines. Carter's daughter, Janelle, has sent packages overseas since the Vietnam War, and she continues to support troops today through the program...

Servicemembers been fighting wars on two fronts for nearly nine years, and they continue to get support from thankful Americans back home.

It is seen in programs such as Adopt a US Soldier, Any Soldier and Treat The Troops, to name a few. These programs are designed not only to bring joy to those receiving letters and packages of support, but also for those who have taken the time to sponsor Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed around the world.

"I love our military men and women. They are the best of the best. I hope my little humble boxes just let them know that I represent Americans who feel the same way as I do - that people back home love and care for them and are praying for them," said Janelle Carter, a bookkeeper, healthcare sales representative and volunteer chaplain from Sacramento, Calif.

Carter joined the non-profit organization Adopt a US Soldier program in July 2009, but has been sending packages to troops since the Vietnam War.

"All of my age group was affected in that war. My buddies went, my ex-husband and my cousins," she said.

Since September 11, 2001, Carter said she has sent packages to her friend's children overseas. She explained that her son was already overseas when the attacks happened but, at former President George W. Bush's urging, she continued to get involved and support Servicemembers. Carter currently sponsors five Soldiers.

For Kathy Cunningham, a family tradition of military service has played a part in why she also sponsors five Soldiers through the Adopt a US Soldier program.

"My family has served in the military for nearly a century, possibly longer, and although I have never served, I still feel a connection to those who give so much. My feelings are, if you and your family can give you to our country, the least I can do is give my time to help and serve you and your family," said Cunningham, a data analyst and project manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Veterans of Foreign Wars volunteer from Jamesburg, N.J.

Although programs may have the word 'Soldier' in them, they are open to any Servicemember who would like to sign up. To sign up, log onto the programs website. You will be asked to enter some personal information, such as name, address and a rough estimate of the dates you will be deployed. Depending on the program, a site administrator will contact you after you submit your information or someone who has chosen to sponsor you will contact you directly.

Most sites ask, out of courtesy, you let your sponsor know you have received their letter or package. It is not required to keep correspondence with your sponsor, but Cunningham and Carter agree that it is nice to keep in touch with troops who are deployed.

"The best part about this is knowing that our troops are taken care of and that they know we do stand behind them and they are not forgotten, nor will they ever be," Cunningham said.

The following links are available to all troops deployed overseas: www.adoptaussoldier.org; www.anysoldier.com; www.treatthetroops.org; www.operationuplink.org (free phone cards) and www.booksforsoldiers.com.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16