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Calgary students pen more than 700 Christmas cards for soldiers overseas

(From left) Joan Laythorpe, Donna Roth, Jordan Roth, Bruce Winston and Jean Hugill hold some of the more than 700 cards that will be sent to Canadian soldiers overseas this winter. .
(From left) Joan Laythorpe, Donna Roth, Jordan Roth, Bruce Winston and Jean Hugill hold some of the more than 700 cards that will be sent to Canadian soldiers overseas this winter. . Contributed/Donna Roth

The signatures of hundreds of Calgary students will be headed overseas to the Middle East in the coming days on greeting cards destined for “any given soldier” who won’t make it home for Christmas.

More than 700 cards were picked up from Coventry Elementary School on Friday afternoon, handwritten by young students at that school as well as Winston Heights and Thorncliffe elementary schools.

READ MORE: ‘It would mean a lot’: Canadian Armed Forces asks residents to send holiday greetings to troops

They’re on their way to CFB Trenton where they’ll soon be sent to soldiers, along with thousands of other cards that have been written in the week since the Canadian Armed Forces put out a call to Canadians on Twitter.

“It was great,” said Bruce Winston, president of Sandstone Pharmacies, which helped make one Calgary parent’s dream to participate in the program a reality.

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Winston said he was approached just a few days ago by a mother named Donna Roth and asked if his company could help with providing the cards and making sure they got sent off. He and his management team were touched and quickly jumped on board.

“With very little notice, the school was really an eager participant, and especially coming in the month of Remembrance Day, where their kids were involved in the assembly and they were very excited about it,” Winston said.

“I think it shows overwhelming support and I’m really excited about it.”

Canadian Forces Postal Unit processing thousands of holiday greetings for troops
Canadian Forces Postal Unit processing thousands of holiday greetings for troops

Winston said that while many of the students who wrote the cards weren’t at the school when he went to see them get picked up by CanPar, the impact of their efforts wasn’t lost on him.

“It was pretty overwhelming to see the stack of close to 700 cards that were put together over just a couple of days,” he said.

“For me personally, I’m just really grateful [to people] who are representing Canada — fulfilling their mission and away from home at what is really supposed to be a celebration time of year.

“I’m just hoping that when they receive a card from a student back home in Canada, that it just plays some role in reminding them that they’re missed.”

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READ MORE: Thousands of cards arrive for Canadian Armed Forces troops after social media appeal

Winston said he hopes the cards will “bring a spot of brightness” to each person who gets one.

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He also hopes this can become a yearly thing, and that next year more students and schools will get involved so even more letters can be sent overseas.

Cpl. Nicolas Lefrancois, who is assigned to the Canadian Forces postal unit, sorts through cards.
Cpl. Nicolas Lefrancois, who is assigned to the Canadian Forces postal unit, sorts through cards. Nick Westoll / Global News
Members of the Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton sort and package correspondence and parcels.
Members of the Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton sort and package correspondence and parcels. Nick Westoll / Global News
Canadian Forces postal unit members scan packages through an X-ray machine and sort the parcels based on the overseas operation destination.
Canadian Forces postal unit members scan packages through an X-ray machine and sort the parcels based on the overseas operation destination. Nick Westoll / Global News
Canadian Forces postal unit members scan packages through an X-ray machine and sort the parcels based on the overseas operation destination.
Canadian Forces postal unit members scan packages through an X-ray machine and sort the parcels based on the overseas operation destination. Nick Westoll / Global News
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton.
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton. Nick Westoll / Global News
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton.
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton. Nick Westoll / Global News
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton.
The Canadian Forces postal unit at CFB Trenton. Nick Westoll / Global News