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 May 21, 2005
Moms get soldier cards, thanks to Rhode Island company
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(AP) -- Thousands of worried mothers will get Mother's Day cards from sons and daughters stationed in Iraq, thanks to a Mississippi military support group and the generosity of a greeting card company.

About 3,900 greeting cards were sent by Paramount Cards Inc., without mention of the sender's name, to members of the 155th Brigade Combat Team, composed of 3,500 Mississippi Guard soldiers with others from Arkansas and Vermont.

"It was like out of the blue and truly a blessing," Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Kelly of Union told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, you can miss a birthday, anniversary or something like that, but being able to send a Mother's Day card to your wife and mother really makes you feel good inside."

Howard Lord, a military veteran and the print manager for the Rhode Island company that sent the cards, said he did so after a request by a family support group in Senatobia. Lord said his time in the Navy taught him the importance of mail between soldiers and their families as they deal with long separations.

"I support everything the soldiers do, wherever they are," Lord said. "Any small help we can give, we will."

While Lord played down the gesture, Kelly said the cards were a welcome surprise for those serving in Iraq. He said many of the soldiers had been sending money with comrades on missions to Baghdad in unsuccessful attempts to obtain cards for Mother's Day. The donation from Paramount Card changed that.

"I was able to send one to my wife ... my mother, and my mother-in-law who is in Germany," Kelly said. "She is German and can't speak English, so I guess it will be the thought that counts."

Tammy Vinzant, the secretary for the Senatobia Family Readiness Group that requested the cards, said some greeting card companies wouldn't give the group the time of day.

Then it contacted Lord, who jumped at the opportunity. The soldiers are thankful for it.

"We were able to give out one card to all single soldiers and two to married soldiers. The reasoning behind this was that the married soldiers could send their wives one," Kelly said. "We all know what a special day it is and especially for us over here that have small kids that really can't go out and buy cards and such."

Rebecca McCormick of Hot Springs, Ark., returned home from a trip to find a letter from Iraq addressed in the handwriting of her son, Sgt. Wayne West, 21.

"It wasn't addressed to Rebecca McCormick, it was addressed to, `My Momma,"' McCormick said. "I'm not opening it until Mother's Day."

McCormick said often it's the wives and girlfriends who hear from the soldiers because of the limited time they have to communicate. "We're the ones who birthed them and, like I told Wayne, no matter how old they get, they are still our babies."

Lt. Col. Tim Powell, a spokesman for the Mississippi National Guard, said providing soldiers with the cards to send back home "was certainly a wonderful gesture by Paramount. We really appreciate that support of our men and women supporting the fight in Iraq."

By Holbrook Mohr

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