Local businesses send troops ‘a million thanks’

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

Even the simplest of gestures can mean a lot.

With thousands of troops fighting overseas, an 18-year-old girl named Shauna Fleming wanted to do something to say thank you.

Her solution was simple: Tell them thanks.


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Fleming, who lives in California, began “A Million Thanks Foundation,” a letter-writing campaign that would send thank you notes and cards overseas.

That was in 2004. To date, Fleming’s foundation has sent more than three million cards overseas.

And the foundation continues to have help here in Suffolk.

William E. Wood and Associates Realtors and Duke Automotive Group partnered this year to send more sentiments of gratitude.

“We, as Americans, often take for granted the many freedoms we enjoy, and we forget to show our appreciation for the men and women in uniform who protect these freedoms,” Dick Thurmond, President of William E. Wood and Associates, said in a press release.

The William E. Wood office pre-printed and made available 2,000 cards for clients, staff and anyone in the community to come and write their personal messages of thanks. Children also were encouraged to create their own cards — complete with handmade illustrations and notes.

With all the cards being created and personalized, staff at William E. Wood reached out to staff at Duke Automotive to use their showroom to collect the cards and then to ship them overseas.

“They called and asked if we’d mind getting some cards and we said absolutely not,” said Eley Duke, vice president of Duke Automotive. “Whatever we can do to help the troops.”

The program is not new to Duke Automotive. Duke is a General Motors dealership, and two years ago, GM adopted the “A Million Thanks Foundation” as a national partner.

“It was a huge success,” Duke said. “Thousands, millions, of cards were sent all over the U.S. It’s a pretty neat thing to see.”

For more information about the program, visit www.amillionthanks.org