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Red Cross delivers Christmas cheer to military


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- 'Tis the season for holiday cheer.

American Red Cross volunteers here in the Port City spent their day delivering cookies and cards to military installations across our area.

"It was great," S. Sgt. Nikea Dawkins said. "It was such a surprise to walk out the door and see all that. It was pretty great."

Dawkins was one of the many recipients of the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. American Red Cross volunteers have spent the past several weeks sorting cards for service members, veterans and their families.

"Our cards have come from all over the country, from individuals who have mailed them in to our PO box from our national headquarters," Kelly VanHouten with the Red Cross said.

Volunteers delivered more than 2,000 holiday cards and 30 trays of cookies to more than 30 different military installations in Brunswick, Columbus and New Hanover counties, including Sunny Point, CFCC's Student Veterans Center and the VA.

"I think it is a really great way, because they do so much and sacrifice so much for us to be able to do what we do, day in and day out, so we can help others, so that way we can live freely," VanHouten said.

VanHouten says local businesses donated all of the treats.

S. Segt. Dawkins says gestures like that make living in a community like ours worth while.

"You're here. You are doing this every day, but to know that your community is standing behind you to say, 'We do support you, and we do support our military,'" Dawkins said.

It's support she says will last far beyond this holiday season.

Nationally, the American Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million for members of the US armed forces since the program began in 2006.

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