Last Friday, the Ann's Choice Multi-Purpose Room was filled with residents and staff members who took time out of their schedule to recognize veterans and troops serving overseas by participating in a project involving pens, postcards and poignant prose.
"Operation Thank a Veteran" aimed to have 5,000 post cards created by the community and the United Way of Bucks County signed and delivered to veterans in hospitals, nursing facilities and to troops serving overseas.
"We jumped at the opportunity to work with Ann's Choice on this project," said Jamie Haddon, United Way of Bucks County President and CEO. "At United Way, everything we do is focused on uniting people to advance the common good. Bringing people together to say thank you to veterans, who despite personal risk and sacrifice protected our nation and strengthened our community, is a contribution to the greater good in Bucks County."
The program began as a service project by Bucks County eighth grader Shane McArdle, who is currently asking people to write thank you cards to veterans. His plan is to pass out the cards to local veterans organizations during the week of Veterans Day.
The morning also featured a visit by 25-year-old Iraq War veteran Justin Gindhart, who spoke and shared stories with older vets like Bob Jacoby and George Hopely, who both served during the Korean War.
"I remember when I was in Korea and received cards of encouragement from people I didn't know," said Jacoby. "It meant a great deal to me just to know somebody's thinking of you - a great deal to know that you were not alone."
Gindhart is from Warminster and served in Iraq from October 2007 to November 2008. An infantry medic of the Second Platoon in C Company, 101st Airborne Division, Gindhart was originally based out of Ft. Campbell, Ken.
During his service in Iraq, Gindhart assisted in saving several troop members who suffered sever trauma and tended many more day-to-day medical practice. He now works part time as an EMT and is in Bucks County Community College studying nursing.
Anybody interested in participating in the Operation Thank a Vet program can send cards to Shane McArdle at P.O. Box 403, Pipersville, PA 18947.