America Supports You: Group Offers Troops Spiritual Support
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2008 Troops are being offered spiritual support from a group based in Nashville, Tenn.
Strength for Service to God and Country is an ecumenical daily devotional publication for those in service of others. It was first published during World War II, and more than 1 million copies were distributed between that time and the Korean conflict, said Larry Coppock, director of Strength for Service, the group currently filling requests for the publication.
“Strength for Service exists to equip and encourage the faiths of American troops,” he said.
After the Korean conflict, the publication went out of print. Evan Hunsberger, a Boy Scout, discovered his grandfather’s copy and, after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, was inspired to tackle getting the book republished as his Eagle Scout project.
According to the Abingdon Press Web site, Hunsberger’s grandfather, Eugene Hunsberger, was a Navy corpsman and read the publication to dying men on the battlefields of the Pacific during World War II. Since its 2002 re-release, 300,000 copies of the book have been distributed to servicemembers and other public service personnel, Coppock said.
“Oftentimes the books are requested by chaplains, who then give the books to servicemen and women,” he said. “(They) have not only been given to troops deploying to the Middle East, they have also been sent to institutions caring for the wounded.”
Strength for Service has given many Americans the opportunity to help support the troops as well, Coppock said. Churches across the country have held “Strength for Service Sundays.”
“These special Sundays give churchgoers the opportunity to donate funds to help print and distribute books free of charge to our troops and veterans,” he said.
Strength for Service recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
“We hope that (through this affiliation) more people will become aware of this one-of-a-kind resource for our troops,” Coppock said. He also said he hopes it would also help the group network with other troop-support groups that may be willing to help with the mission.