Messages to the troops

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Suzanne O’Rourke-Warner and Sharon Chapple showcase some of the seasons’ greetings cards they are sending to Canadian military personnel overseas this holiday season.

Sharon Chapple and Suzanne O’Rourke-Warner recently stuffed the mailbox with more than 400 letters – all postmarked to go to members of Canada’s armed forces.

The duo sent the cards to active armed forces personnel, with the help of a slew of local businesses and schools.

Chapple started the effort last year and said the idea came to her when she saw others doing it on TV. O’Rourke-Warner overheard Chapple talking about the project and offered to help.

“I don’t turn down good help,” Chapple said.

Along with O’Rourke-Warner, Chapple enlisted Gabriele Janka’s assistance.

“Suzanne and I are partners this year,” Chapple said. “Gabriele supplied the cards and stickers.”

Chapple and O’Rourke-Warner divided Chatham and went around to businesses and schools to seek signatures on each card.

“Suzanne did the south side, I did the north side. We distributed cards to businesses, schools, doctors’ offices, drug stores, we did the best we could. Some of the cards have 50 signatures on them,” Chapple said.

She added one retirement home made their own cards as a craft project, personalizing the effort even further.

Chapple said the effort is well received.

“I was talking to a parent who said their son would be so thrilled to get one,” she said, adding getting people to sign them isn’t hard.

“The majority of places we went to, once they understood what we were doing, they were thrilled to sign them. They thanked us and were very appreciative of us doing it.”

The women hope to keep this going each year and Chapple said they hope to do even more next year.

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