At first, Navy Veteran Chuck Erickson was confused, then surprised and mostly moved by an act of holiday kindness extended to him by a stranger.
Erickson received an unexpected holiday greeting card from 15-year-old Allison Queener Wednesday.
“I didn’t know her so I thought it was sent by mistake,” said Erickson.
It was no mistake.
Queener, daughter of Chad and Jennifer Queener, thought it would be a nice gesture to send greeting cards to local veterans, and she began collecting donated cards in October.
“I’ve just always wanted to do something like this,” said Queener.
With the help of her family and friends, Queener and her siblings, Rebekah, 14, and Kirby, 12, collected and signed more than 300 greeting cards to distribute to local veterans through the Veteran’s Affairs Unit.
According to the Queeners’, the cards were donated by Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop #101 of Osceola, Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop #218 of Shenandoah, and Queener’s great aunt in florida.
“The response was overwhelming,” said Queener’s mother.
The Queener’s phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from veterans and their family members.
“One woman called and hasn’t seen a piece of mail with her husband’s name on it in 15 years,” said Queener’s mother. “She said it meant a lot that he was still being thought of.”
“One woman came to the house to thank us,” said Queener. “We’ve also received a letter back.”
“While not all the addresses were current, and some of the veterans had since passed away after the compliation of the list, the families were still appreciative,” said Queener’s mother. “It has had such a positive impact on our family.”
Queener is a member of Venturing, a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women, ages 13 to 20 whose purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.
“Allison is using this experience to advance in her Venturing Crew,” said Queener’s mother. “It’s been a wonderful program, which focuses on leadership and community involvement.”
“I look forward to doing this again next year,” said Queener.