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Soldier's father thanks Austin Peay students for letters to son

October 23, 2002

Most soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other far-away countries would rather miss a meal than mail call. Food nourishes their bodies, but letters from home feed their souls.

During a ceremony held Sept. 11, 2002, at Austin Peay to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11/01 and to honor those who sacrifice so much in the battle against terrorism at home and around the world, attendees were asked to write notes on 500 pre-addressed and stamped postcards to be mailed to soldiers in Afghanistan.

According to Tim Taylor of Antioch, the postcards, filled with varying sentiments and words of encouragement, arrived in Afghanistan and were distributed to soldiers, including Taylor's son who is serving with the 82nd Airborne 505 Chemical Headquarters Division.

Ironically, another son, Matthew, who is an APSU freshman and a member of the Govs baseball team, was unaware hundreds of notes had been mailed from APSU to soldiers in Afghanistan until his brother notified the family.

Honoring his son's request, the father sent e-mail to APSU's Student Affairs Office. Taylor wrote: “(Our son) informed us they received a group of letters from some students at APSU. The servicemen thought a lot of the gesture…by your thoughtful students. (He) said there were many comments made as to how much they appreciate that perfect strangers would take the time to send letters of encouragement and support.

“I would like to thank those students for taking time to send a little note to my son. It helps those going through the hardships they endure over there understand why they are there in the first place. If you happen to know who did this good deed for our servicemen overseas, please tell them it made a difference in some lives.”

Tammy Bryant, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, said, “Although I receive many inquiries and e-mails from our Web site, nothing has ever impacted me the way this one did. This is the type of thing that makes what we do really worth the effort.”

APSU's Student Government Association sponsored the effort to send personalized notes to United States soldiers serving their country overseas. The initial idea, in large part, was the brainchild of Kelly Rouster, SGA public relations officer whose husband is stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Greatly moved and “speechless by the response” from the soldiers, Rouster said, “We wanted to do something for our soldiers to let them know we haven't forgotten what they're doing.

“It's great to know our postcards actually got to those who were supposed to get them. It's like the good wishes have come full circle—from Austin Peay to Afghanistan and back to us.”