Valley residents are invited to give a veteran a warm Christmas wish through a program sponsored by Fresno Pacific University and in partnership with AMVETS Department of California.
"Operation 'Dear Veteran'" encourages people to bring Christmas cards to one of the five FPU campuses or mail them to the North Fresno Campus, where FPU staff will distribute them to local VA hospitals, the Veterans Home of California and other area veteran groups. Each card should contain a message to a veteran, be sealed and say "Dear Veteran" on the outside.
Last year’s maiden effort resulted in cards for 1,500 veterans from individuals, families, elementary schools and churches—more than triple the amount organizers had hoped for. "I get emotional when I see how our communities respond toward supporting our valley veterans," Denise Baronian, FPU executive director of regional enrollment and head of the project, said. "Once the word got out and people caught the vision, we were overwhelmed with cards. We hope to bless many more veterans this year!"
FPU has about 100 students who are veterans of the U.S. military. David Black, FPU veteran outreach and student service coordinator, and others work to make sure they are served and feel included by the university. "Being a veteran myself, I always enjoyed receiving and reading cards from complete strangers; just knowing we were not forgotten," stated Black. Black is also junior past commander of California AMVETS and District VI commander nationally. Through that organization he has provided support to the VA Medical Center and knows how many local hospitalized veterans.
Faculty and staff at each of FPU’s five campuses—Merced, North Fresno, the main campus in Southeast Fresno (including Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), Visalia and Bakersfield—aid in the effort.
Find the nearest FPU campus at Locations | Fresno Pacific University or pack cards into a larger envelope and mail them to:
c/o Fresno Pacific University
5 River Park Place West #303
Fresno, CA 93720