Today, Veterans Day, I honor you—you who gave of yourself to serve our country so that we might live freely.
Because of you, I can pursue my dreams, speak my mind, vote, express myself through my writing and so much more.
As the daughter of a Korean War veteran, I understand the depth of your service to country. For all you have done, thank you. May God bless and keep you in His care always.
Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Minnesota Prairie Roots blogger
I SENT THE ABOVE short message last week to 13-year-old Heather Weller of New York Mills who was collecting thank you notes to deliver to the Fergus Falls Veterans Home on Veterans Day.
It was the least I could do for this teenager committed to honoring our service men and women.
After submitting my e-mail and blogging about Heather’s “Thank a Veteran” project, I received an e-mail from her mom, Kristi Landwehr Weller, thanking me for supporting her daughter.
I asked her to update me on Heather’s project after Veterans Day. Kristi reports that Heather received 185 e-mails from 42 states and Canada. She also collected 75 handwritten thank you notes at her local county fair, the Minnesota State Fair and 4-H events.
Now if those numbers, geographical locations and efforts aren’t enough to impress you, how about this: Heather collected more than 500 thank you cards and letters from her elementary school and the high school in New York Mills. She also handcrafted 100 cards.
Then this remarkable young woman delivered all those notes and cards to those veterans in that Fergus Falls home. She gathered the e-mails and messages into a binder to leave there.
Heather Weller with some of the letters she gathered at her school and cards she made.
And to impress you even more, Heather also gave Veterans Day speeches at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home and at the New York Mills schools.
Did I mention that Heather turned 13 years old in September?
Her passion for honoring our veterans doesn’t stop with Veterans Day. Says Heather’s mom: “…she collects messages all year round online and in person, gives speeches about her cause, promotes Project New Hope (providing veteran family retreats), makes quilts for Quilts of Valor, visits the vets home all year round, involves the school in Holiday Mail for Heroes and is working on care packages for soldiers…just to name a few things.”
Oh, and recently she participated in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C.
“Seeing the war memorials and hearing about great leaders seems to have made her even more determined to spread the word (about honoring veterans),” Kristi says.
Kristi, who calls herself “just a proud mom,” apologizes for “going on and on” about her daughter.
Well, Kristi, I’d say you have every reason to be proud of Heather for her passion, selfless giving, devotion, hard work, dedication and enthusiasm in honoring our veterans.
Such commitment deserves recognition. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this passionate young woman. I expect that no matter what path Heather follows in life, it will be one that involves giving to others. And that is admirable, admirable, indeed.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Heather’s efforts.
CLICK HERE to read my first post about “Thank a Veteran.”
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Photos courtesy of Kristi Weller