Fair, Friends of Nevada County Military team up to support deployed soldiers
Special to The Union
“… It is nice to know that even strangers will take the time to show their support to the troops.”
“Take care my friends. You all have made countless people know that people care about them back home.”
These are just a few of the comments that Friends of Nevada County Military (FNCM) receive each week from Nevada County troop members deployed overseas. Since 2005, the Nevada County Fair and FNCM have teamed up to offer the community an opportunity to send a message of support to deployed and returning Nevada County troops by writing letters and creating cards for them.
The organization first joined the Fair in 2005 when they shared a booth with the Vietnam Veterans of America. They had asked to share a booth in order to honor a fallen soldier, Adam Strain, a local Marine who was killed in the line of duty.
“We had a place where community members could write their condolences, and we also had a quilt to sign,” said Fred Buhler, president of FNCM. “We had a constant stream of people, and the response from the community for this family was overwhelming.”
In 2006, the Fair approached FNCM about hosting its own booth. They created a booth that pays tribute to local troop members serving overseas, honors the four fallen soldiers from Nevada County, and provides a way for the community to write letters and for children to create cards to send to troops.
“That first year, and again last year, by the end of the five day Fair, we had more than 120 cards from children and 125 letters from adults.” said Buhler. “It was literally an outpouring of love from our community, and a reminder that these soldiers are not forgotten.”
With the letters written and the cards created from the Fair, they are distributed into the more than 70 boxes that FNCM packs each month. Each Nevada County troop member – currently there are 70 overseas – receives a box each month with letters, cards, cookies, coffee, toiletries, The Union, batteries, seasonal items, and a host of other items.
FNCM tracks about 350 troop members each month. As soon as an individual is sent overseas, that name goes on a shipping list and then a care package is sent each month until the return trip home. To date, the organization has shipped more than 2400 boxes since its inception in 2004, and has collected more than 500 cards and letters from residents who visited the Fair booth.
“Stop by and see us at this year’s Fair,” said Buhler. We’re located right inside the Main Street Center, and we’d love for you to write a letter or have your child draw a picture. These simple acts are so appreciated by these men and women. It makes them feel connected to their community and it lets them know that their hometown cares for them.”
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