Nancy Wilde never expected any recompense for what she considered small acts of decency and kindness in a world that isn’t always decent or kind, but thanks is what she got from an unexpected source, as reported by the Wausau Daily Herald (of Wisconsin) on Dec. 14, 2013.
Just a handful of years ago, the 74-year-old Wilde of Merrill, Wis., started sending Christmas cards to troops stationed around the globe, many of whom are in their first hitch in the Armed Forces and away from home for the first time in their lives.
Little did anyone realize at the time did those first handful of cards would eventually total well over 2,400 and counting, along with recognition and thanks from the United States Marine Corps.
When her granddaughter served overseas a few years ago, she made the decision to get the names and addresses of servicemen listed at the office of the Wausau Daily Herald, and as they say, the rest is history.
Catching her by surprise at the Merrill Area Community Enrichment Center, where Wilde anticipated an easygoing night of playing bingo with friends, she was instead honored by over two dozen family members as well as two Sergeants of Marines.
Reducing her to tears, the Marines honored Wilde with an American flag that had flown over the US-led ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as a personal note of thanks from the Yank Commanding General in country.
After the emotional presentation, the woman-of-the-hour stated, “I enjoy writing to servicemen. I know they’re 50 years younger than I am, but I’m sure when they’re off duty, they like mail from home, no matter where it is (from).”
In her own hand, Wilde sends the following personal note on every card she posts:
Dear American hero. God bless you for serving our country. Because of you, your sacrifices, your courage, your bravery and valor, you protected our freedoms. Love, Nancy.