Light Notes

Local woman organizes 'God packages' for U.S. troops

There’s something going around this season and it’s contagious.

Not to worry. This won’t make you feel “yucky” like the flu or the sniffles. More than likely, it’ll make a person feel good.

It’s called gratitude.

And I didn’t realize just how catching it is until I met Jan Sass on our latest KTNW-TV In Steppe show. She’s the founder of U.S. Troop Care Package, a local effort that puts together care packages to show appreciation for deployed military.

It started with one box. Today, thousands of Care Packages are sent to troops in more than 30 countries.

It seems that once the word got out that Jan was thanking service men and women, a lot of folks wanted to say thank you, too.

There are seniors, 4-H kids, businesses, students -- more than 500 volunteers each month -- who’ve caught the spirit of thankfulness. Together they pack boxes brimming with items from back home -- including handmade pillows small enough to fit a soldier’s rucksack.

But the fabric pillows -- some as soft as a grandma’s lap -- and the over 50 items stuffed into each box, don’t just come from our town. All across America, people have become infected with gratitude, stitching pillows and gathering comfort for the soldiers away from home.

Jan calls it a “God thing” when needed items show up.

This nationwide “thank you” has touched countless hearts, reassuring each soldier that their dedication and sacrifice is appreciated. Letters from Afghanistan to Africa show up regularly with stories that require a tissue or two.

And to think. It all started with one person and one thank you.

Imagine what would happen if we all shared an attitude of gratitude every single day.

I believe it could be contagious.