Since we celebrated our heroes this week and had a holiday in their honor I thought it only fitting that we celebrate those heroes that support our troops. The story of this 16-year-old girl will tell you that there are heroes all around us silently impacting thousands of lives for the better.
In 2004, at 16, Mireille Manzone’s life was about to change when she attended a presentation by Scott Rutter, a retired Lt. Col. in the US Army, about his experience in Iraq. As she listened to stories of bravery and hardship, what touched her was the story of Mail day. Lt. Col. Rutter spoke of the loneliest day of the week for his soldiers, many of whom were barely older than the audience. He said that some soldiers might receive an occasional letter but sadly, many never received anything.
Hearing this broke Mireille’s heart and she knew she had to do something. Mireille was determined to find a way to show our troops that they were not being forgotten and that people back home appreciated their service and sacrifice.
So Mireille rallied her troops…..local schools, churches and Veterans’ organizations and before long the first 200 lb shipment of baked goods and letters was on its way to Iraq. The good word spread and before long the group now entitled Hugs for Heroes was born.
Two years later, when Mireille became student at Boston College, Hugs for Heroes became an offical non-profit and an integral part of campus life. Once again, she reached out to the BC fellow students and staff members to help take up collections on campus, pack and mail even more shipments.
Today, Hugs for Heroes, Inc. is still serving our troops and has shipped nearly 10 tons of care packages to the men and women serving overseas since 2004. Mireille is a hero for inspiring thousands to make a difference and bring hugs to our troops.
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