Memorial Cafeteria to Show Support for Troops

Sept. 24, 2008

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

When the Iraq war first started seven years ago, supporting the troops was on the forefront of everyone's mind. Now, however, some Americans, and college students for that matter, tend to forget about what is going on overseas as they deal with the everyday stresses of life. In an effort to change that, Memorial Cafeteria on the Baylor University campus will host a "Support the Troops Week" during dinner hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, through Friday, Sept. 26, in the cafeteria lobby.

During the week, Memorial Cafeteria will provide a table with all the essentials for writing a letter and creating care packages for the troops overseas. Student and the Waco community will have the opportunity to write a general letter that may be delivered to any service member or to choose a name from a list of troops from Waco and the surrounding areas. Memorial will then send the letters with the troops that will be deployed in November.

Additionally on Thursday, local troops will be in Memorial to talk and eat with students.

Billy Collins, a Baylor student who works for Memorial and planned the event said that he came up with the idea for the event when a supervisor, who recently married a soldier, told him that few soldiers receive any kind of personal communication from America.

"I see thousands of students, faculty and staff come through there every week, this idea just made sense," Collins said. "People who wouldn't normally take the time to show how much they really care about what's going on overseas can come into the cafeteria, spend a few minutes writing a note, and send it for free. It couldn't be any easier."

"The war has been going on for so long that I fear a lot of college students have become disconnected with the whole thing," he added. "If we feel disconnected from the war, imagine how disconnected the troops feel from America."

Student and the Waco community may write as many letters as they like. In addition, letters may be dropped off all week at one of the cashier stands in the cafeteria lobby.

"Students have nothing to risk here. They can do something that they'll probably remember for a long time, Collins said. "And by doing that, they're creating a physical note that a soldier will one day show his or her kids and family."

Collins said that in movies we often see soldiers pull out letters from home, and they get the little extra strength needed to continue on.

"Well, it is not just in movies anymore," Collins said. "It's not everyday we can accomplish something so amazing by doing something so small."

This event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Billy Collins at (210) 289-8390 or Billy_Collins@baylor.edu.

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