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Student’s Letter Writing Campaign Encourages Sending Hugs From Home



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Newtown High School junior Connor Kwarcinski learned what it was like to be away from home and loved ones during recent training sessions with the Civil Air Patrol.

“Last year I was a Basic, I was just a Cadet,” he said. “I got a sense of what military life is like. We stay on a base, and go through boot camp. We train, and we live a military life.

“Through that one week I got a taste of what it’s like to be away from home,” he continued. “It was just a week, but I kind of got a feel of what that’s like.”

His rank was one step higher when he returned for this summer’s training, but Connor still thought about what it could be like for soldiers who are away from home for long, especially those who may not have a lot of communication coming their way while actively serving. So over the past few weeks, he has been inviting residents to write letters to those who are serving in the Armed Forces.

“I’m getting these letters to people who are serving overseas, or who are in the hospital, because I feel that sometimes those people don’t receive mail or any conversation from back home,” he said. Sitting in the lower meeting room of C.H. Booth Library one recent afternoon, Connor was sorting the latest batch of letters from residents who responded to his invitation to write.

“I want to make sure they know they’re not alone, that they’re being talked to,” he said.

Through September 16, readers are invited to join Connor’s letter writing campaign. Collection points have been set up at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street; Newtown Senior Center, 8 Simpson Street; and the office of The Newtown Bee, 5 Church Hill Road. Those who visit the library and senior center will even find supplies available — paper, envelopes, and writing utensils.

Those who are too young to write can also participate. In the library’s children’s department, printed photos and buckets of crayons and colored pencils have been left with that location’s collection setup.

Connor plans to attend the US Air Force Academy. The respect for the military is deep-seated for the 16-year-old, whose grandparents served in the Korean War.

“I just have this passion to serve,” he said. “I like to help the community a lot too.”

His time with the Civil Air Patrol has included emergency services training and assignments for local events, he said. He is a former member of the local Rotary Interact Club, and he plans to continue during the current academic year, he said, with the Unified Sports team.

Distribution Of Letters

Response for the self-started service project has been “pretty good,” Connor said.

Connor has not been reading the letters that have been entrusted with him. He picks them up from the collection points, and all are going to Homefront Hugs Foundation in Michigan for dispersal.

“Their main service is to help service members and families,” he explained. “They have a lot of places set up so you send letters to them and they send them to bases and hospital overseas. It’s a very good organization.”

One of the offerings of Homefront Hugs is Writing Our Heroes. The program invites letters, year-round, for service members.

Homefront Hugs encourages writers to include at least their first name and which state they are writing from, “to let heroes know where you are from,” according to the foundation’s website.

Writers should include one to two sentences or a drawing. Jokes and photos are also welcomed. Stories about a typical day, and even email addresses in the event the recipient has the time and interest in responding.

“Be creative,” the foundation encourages. “This helps their healing and being far away from home.”

One of Homefront Hugs’s missions is to make sure every person who has served in the military knows that their work is appreciated. Formed in the wake of 9/11, the foundation has worked to prevent suicides of troops and veterans, many who feel forgotten during and/or after their service.

The letters for Connor’s project will all be sent to Homefront Hugs Foundation after he does his final pickups on September 16.

Letters are checked by foundation members to make sure they are appropriate, and then sent overseas.


Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

Connor Kwarcinski flips through a batch of letters he picked up at C.H. Booth Library on August 18. There are two drop-off points at the library, two within 8 Simpson Street, and one inside the office of The Newtown Bee for residents who would like to send a letter to someone serving in the Armed Forces. —Bee Photo, Hicks
One of two Homefront Hugs Foundation locations within C.H. Booth Library, the table within the children’s department offers envelopes, paper, writing utensils, and even preprinted pages for children to color. While Connor’s original project deadline was August 29, he recently extended it another three weeks. Residents now have until September 16 to drop off letters and/or drawings. —Bee Photo, Hicks
A few letters in a recent batch had notes from their writers that the letters were meant for a medic. Most, according to Connor, arrive with no specific audience in mind. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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1 comment
  1. homefronthugs says:

    We are so grateful to have these letters and real Homefront Hugs coming our way for our service members who need a smile and to be reminded they are not forgotten. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about one of our dedicated volunteers. If anyone else is interested in sending letters or cards in the future – just email us at HomefrontHugsUSA@aol.com or Volunteer@HomefrontHugs.org .

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