Teen Continues Quest to Support the Troops
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2004 High school freshman Shauna Fleming is a busy young lady.
High school freshman Shauna Fleming (red shirt) hands thank
you letters to veterans at the VA Hospital in Westwood, Calif. The teen has
spearheaded a program that has collected and distributed more than 800,000
letters to troops and veterans. She recently sent thousands of letters to
soldiers of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. In response to feedback from the
troops, she's asking for donations of used CDs and DVDs to include in her next
mailing. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The 15-year-old has collected and distributed hundreds of thousands of letters of support for America's troops and veterans. To get the word out on her letter-writing campaign, "A Million Thanks," she has set up booths at NASCAR events, been a guest on news shows and even has her own radio show.
Today, she sent thousands of letters to 1st Armored Division soldiers serving in Iraq.
The student of Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif., said she has been contacted by many service members and their families, who've told her the letters and emails help their morale. "I have had the opportunity to hear from many soldiers overseas who have received our letters," said Shauna. "They've e- mailed me and even called me from Iraq to say thanks."
And that was the teen's opportunity to ask the deployed soldiers what else they could use. The answer: CDs and DVDs.
Shauna said she hopes people all over the United States will answer her call to send used music and movies along with their letters so she can include them in her next mailing.
Though Shauna and her high school friends had hoped to reach their 1-million- letters goal in June, the teen said she knows they will hit their goal sometime soon.
"The incoming mail has slowed because I think people thought we were only collecting the letters for Military Appreciation Month (May) but this campaign is year-round," she said. "I know we'll hit our goal pretty soon as we are so close right now. When we do, we'll go for another million!"
Shauna's "A Million Thanks" radio show discusses her campaign and includes guest interviews. Station owner Chris Murch, a former Marine captain, contacted Shauna after seeing her on Fox News on Memorial Day.
"Doing an Internet radio show gives me the opportunity to tell people around the world that Americans do appreciate what our military men and women do for our country, and not to believe everything they read," said Shauna. "It also lets me inform everyone what I hear from our soldiers who are out there, and how we can help them and their families."