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Participation sought for holiday mailing

Among other things, the holidays are a time for giving and receiving, with the former taking center stage in the hearts of more and more residents as they ponder what, if anything, they can do to make the season a little brighter for military personnel serving our country in war torn locations throughout the world.

In the spirit of the season, Senator Kent Conrad is one of those committed to the cause, working with the American Red Cross and the Holiday Mail for Heroes program to encourage North Dakotans to send holiday cards to service men and women in the United States and around the world.

In a statement released recently, Conrad touted the effort stating, "There are tens of thousands of U.S. troops serving overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Most of them will be away from their families during the holidays. Holiday Mail for Heroes is a great opportunity to let the men and women of our armed forces know how much we care about them and appreciate their service."

This is where you and I come in and can play a key role in helping make the mail drive a huge success, with the Red Cross expecting to deliver one million cards in this gigantic worldwide effort.

From now through December 10, the public is invited to participate in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, by sending holiday cards with their message of thanks and holiday cheer to a special post office box. The Red Cross will then sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran's hospitals, and other locations during the holidays.

Holiday cards should be addressed and sent to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.

In an effort to ensure that all cards quickly reach service members, veterans and their families, the Red Cross asks that people adhere to the following guidelines:

*Please be sure to affix adequate postage and address your card "Dear Service Member."

*If sending more than one card, please mail all cards together in one large shipping envelope. Cards sent in this manner do not need individual envelopes or postage.

*Please ensure that all cards are signed. However, do not include personal information, like email or home addresses.

*Do not send letters, only cards.

*And finally, do not include inserts of any kind.

Cards must be received no later than December 10. Cards received after this date will be returned to senders, so it is extremely important to react quickly to guarantee that your card will be dispatched on time to help spread holiday cheer, and most importantly, a sincere message of peace and goodwill.

  To learn more about the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, visit