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Rams Honor Military Members Past and Present

Posted Nov 15, 2012


In honor of Veteran’s Day and the approaching holiday season, the St. Louis Rams combined the best of both worlds. On Tuesday, the Rams teamed with our country’s past heroes to share some holiday spirit with the heroes currently serving.

As part of their monthly Staff Days of Service program, members of the Rams organization visited with former military men and women currently residing in the Missouri Veterans Home St. Louis. The Missouri Veterans Home St. Louis is the largest of seven long-term care homes dedicated to military veterans in the state. Among the 298 men and women living in the home, every branch of the military is represented, as is every war since World War II.

The purpose of the afternoon was two-fold. The first part was to honor and interact with veterans. The second was to spread holiday cheer to the men and women currently serving overseas. The two goals were brought together with one campaign: Holiday Mail for Heroes, a program started by the American Red Cross to bring some holiday spirit from home to soldiers abroad.

“We are just delighted to be partnering with the Rams for the Holiday Mail for Heroes,” American Red Cross regional chief executive officer Cindy Erickson said. “The American public is so appreciative of our military, this program is our way of saying thank you during the holiday season.”

It was a program that allowed the Rams and the veterans living in the home to work for a common goal.

“The Rams initiated contact with the notion of this joint-venture civic partnership, and we were as excited as could be about being a host site for the project,” Stan Smith, administrator with Missouri Veteran Home St. Louis said. “There are few things our veterans here love more than honoring and providing respect for the active duty military who currently serve overseas. Many of them have been in that position themselves.”

Throughout the afternoon, members of the Rams staff went around to various tables and worked with the veterans to personalize the cards. Helping to boost the efforts were tight ends Lance Kendricks and Matthew Mulligan, safety Craig Dahl, running back Chase Reynolds and long snapper Jake McQuaide. Rams Cheerleaders Michelle and Aimee also spent time visiting with veterans and even Rampage managed to get in on the fun.

Many of the veterans came decked out in their blue and gold gear in preparation of the event. Rams hats, shirts and even adorned helmets could be seen throughout the room. Needless to say, the players were a big draw for the event.

“It’s very special for our veterans to be able to have the St. Louis Rams coming out to spend the afternoon with them,” Erickson said.

Another player on the Rams roster has also made a valuable contribution to the campaign. Defensive end Chris Long volunteered to serve as the Rams’ honorary chair for the Red Cross, and was featured on the holiday card in a camouflage jersey. Chris will also be in attendance during the upcoming annual Red Cross Blood Drive encouraging Rams fans to take some time to personalize a card for those overseas. His involvement in the program has helped bring additional awareness to the sacrifices made by military men and women.

“We’re thrilled that Chris is our honorary chair this year,” Erickson said. “It was really kind of him to do that and I think it also speaks volumes as far as his interest in also honoring the military.”

According to Erickson, the goal this year is to send 25,000 cards from the St. Louis area. She also said that through the Red Cross’ national initiative, over 1.5 million holiday cards will be sent to soldiers across the globe.

“Just to be able to get something from home, a stranger who you don’t even know saying thank you, it’s priceless,” she said.

The Rams plan to be major players in the campaign. Over 1,000 cards were personalized on Tuesday and more are sure to follow. On Saturday, November 17, the Red Cross will have another card signing at the Galleria. The Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign will continue on Sunday as well when the Rams host the New York Jets. During the game, fans can visit signing stations in sections 110, 138, 326, 353, 414 and 440, as well as the Bud Light Party Zone. Fans will also have an opportunity to personalize cards during the Rams’ annual Red Cross Blood Drive on November 27 at The Heights in Richmond Heights, MO. For fans interested in making cards at home, please refer to the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes for information on guidelines and drop off sites.

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