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Group Encourages Americans to Reach Out to Female Servicemembers

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2009 – During Women’s History Month, many Americans take time to salute the contributions of women.

Manhattanville My Soldier, a New York-based troop-support group, is paying special attention this month to women serving in the U.S. armed forces.

“The military women I met while serving in Iraq were courageous and kind,” My Soldier co-founder Juan Salas, an active-duty Army sergeant and Manhattanville College student, said. “We are asking civilians to pay respect to these brave women during Women’s History Month.”

In observance of Women’s History Month, the group has created “My Soldier: Her Story,” a program that encourages Americans to honor deployed female servicemembers by sending letters and care packages in appreciation of their service. The new initiative aims to spotlight women serving in all branches of the military.

“Every March, we have more Girl Scout troops, Brownie troops and women’s organizations sign up with us to support female soldiers,” Michael Seminara, Manhattanville My Soldier operations director, said. “Most intend to only send one or two packages, but the soldiers are so thankful that the groups continue sending letters and packages until their soldier has returned home safely.”

My Soldier: Her Story is tailored to those groups or individuals who want to send support directly to women without an ongoing commitment.

Suggested support includes handwritten letters, thank you cards and children’s artwork. Participants also can send care packages with food, nail care products, magazines, shampoo, lotion, and combs and brushes.

Salas is asking everyone -- if not through the My Soldier: Her Story program -- to reach out to female servicemembers this month.

“Please, send a letter to let a woman soldier know that you are thinking of her or to thank her for all she is sacrificing to make the world a safer place,” Salas said.

Those interested in participating in “My Soldier: Her Story” program can contact Manhattanville My Soldier, located on the Manhattanville College campus, directly. Within a few days of registering, participants will receive the name and address of a platoon contact. The contact will distribute the letter or package to a female soldier in their unit.

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