“It is crucial that we give back to them”: Card-writing provides opportunity to say thank you to veterans

Local News

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV)- It’s never a bad day to honor our veterans.

For one Northeast Wisconsin teenager, doing just that has become a passion. Her mission to do what she can to honor veterans started as a requirement for winning the Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen crown (which she won in June), but over the years it has become so much more than just a prerequisite to reach that goal.

“So many veterans become emotional and all I did was say thank you and that’s all people have to do is say thank you for your service because they have given so much for our country,” says Eve Vanden Heuvel.

Vanden Heuvel started an organization called ‘Thank You From the Heart-Thanking Our Veterans’ where she educates children about who our veterans are, the importance of honoring them, and how we can thank them.

She also organizes card-writing campaigns where people can decorate cards and write thank-you messages to local veterans. Her most recent card-writing campaign took place on Sunday afternoon at the Oshkosh Public Museum.

The card writing coincided with Oshkosh Public Museum’s White Christmas exhibit. A former Miss America winner named Heather French Henry is one of the people in charge of the White Christmas exhibit and she also gave back to veterans as part of her social initiative when she was doing competitions. Vanden Heuvel says she drew inspiration from French Henry when she was figuring out how to go about honoring veterans.

Vanden Heuvel says a family trip to Arlington National Cemetery a few years ago really ignited her passion for giving back to veterans.

“It is crucial that we give back to them because what they have given to us is so great,” says Vanden Heuvel.

Vanden Heuvel invited some of her friends, her mom, and the general public to come and participate. Some veterans even attended the event.

“I like to come to events like this so I can come back and thank another veteran for everything they have done for the service for our country,” says Shari Prag.

Prag is from West Bend, Wis. and is a veteran of the US Army. She says she was deployed in Germany for a couple of years in the mid-70s as a telecommunications specialist.

She says she’s involved in her local VFW post and also helps run an organization that sends care packages to our troops. She says as a veteran herself, she knows that these small gestures can make a huge impact.

“It makes us feel like we already made a difference, it makes me feel good and it makes me feel warm,” says Prag.

Over the coming weeks, Vanden Heuvel will distribute the cards at a local homeless shelter that houses veterans. In mid-February, as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients day, she will go to hospitals and distribute the rest of the cards to veterans who are staying there.

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