Missouri 10-year-old leads drive to get Christmas cards to veterans

Friday, December 16, 2011 | 5:44 p.m. CST

MONROE CITY — Like most 10-year-olds, Blake Lantz of rural northeast Missouri is anxious about the holidays. But, his motivation is different.

Blake, of Monroe City, is leading a campaign to collect signed Christmas cards that will be sent to veterans hospitalized about 70 miles away.

He used his own money to purchase more than 80 cards and has been going door-to-door in his small hometown getting people to sign them, the Hannibal Courier-Post reported. Some residents also wrote notes to the veterans hospitalized at the Truman Veterans Hospital in Columbia.

Blake said he wants the veterans to know that people care about them.

"I don't really think they care where the cards come from, but I think they will feel great to know somebody cares for them," he said.

Stephen Gaither, a public affairs officer for the hospital, agreed.

"Those patients that get a card are usually touched by people remembering and thanking them for the service and sacrifice they've given for the nation," he said.

Gaither called Blake's gesture heartwarming.

"Different schools will get involved and church groups, but it's even more unique that that young man took the initiative to do something like this," he said.

Blake said the effort has been a joy for him.

"I don't really know what makes me feel good about what I've done, I just know that I do feel good about what I've done," he said.

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