It all started with a bumper sticker. Freshman Allison Moore was sitting at a stoplight when she noticed the car next to her had a sticker that read “Adopt A U.S. Soldier.” Her curiosity was piqued.
When Moore got home, she eagerly Googled the phrase she had been repeating over and over again in her head and found a pen pal organization between civilians and soldiers.
Growing up in Colorado, home of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Moore has been surrounded by talk of the service her whole life. Not only is the academy close to her home, she also has many friends and family active in the military. She is constantly reminded of the bravery and sacrifices that men and women are making to protect our country. In response, Moore is determined to not let these soldiers go unnoticed.
Moore, a biology major and member of the Linfield women’s cross country team, hopes to one day attend the Military Medical School to become a military doctor or trauma surgeon. After attending a running camp at the academy in Colorado Springs, Moore became attracted to the armed forces.
What she found on the patriotic website was something that would soon become a hobby. Adopt A U.S. Soldier is a nonprofit organization that seeks volunteers to connect with deployed troops and is a channel of communication for expressing gratitude to those serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The website offers the opportunity to sign up for one of two choices. Those interested in adopting a soldier can either adopt a soldier for the entire duration of a soldier’s deployment or for Project Frontline, which only requires a one-time commitment.
Both programs provide people with the opportunity to connect with deployed soldiers. Those who have adopted soldiers will send letters and care packages to their pen pals as often as they would like.
Moore explained that one of the major reasons why people are reluctant to take part in such a great opportunity is that they are worried about the recipient being ungrateful.
“The process intimidates some people who don’t know what to write,” Moore said. “If you were in their position, you wouldn’t be judging someone’s letter or care package. It would be encouraging to know what the people you’re fighting for are thinking about. You just kind of have to go for it.”
It is important to keep in mind how out of touch deployed soldiers are and how appreciative they are to receive anything. Moore explained that most soldiers do not have excessive requests. One female sergeant and mother of two kids who Moore recently adopted requested simple necessities, such as coffee and snacks.
Moore stressed how easy and rewarding the process is and how therapeutic it has been for her.
Moore has always been injury prone. In her first season of cross country at Linfield, she has found herself unable to compete.
“I am really upset because I love running and it is my natural therapy,” Moore said. “I haven’t been able to train or run for two months, so I made a promise to myself to do something nice for someone else, such as sending a letter to my soldier.”
Writing a simple letter is not time-consuming. Moore believes we can all take the time to reach out to deployed soldiers and acknowledge their efforts.
“It doesn’t take that long,” Moore said. “You can take a study break to write your letter or [write it] when you are waiting for class to start.
“We have a lot of freedom where we live, and we forget about the kids our age making sacrifices to defend our freedom,” Moore said. “ We can all take a few minutes out of our week to tell them thank you and just chat.”
For more information about the Adopt A U.S. Soldier, visit www.adoptaussoldier.org/index.php
Sarah Mason can be reached at