Jon Jordan, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- One Oklahoma woman is on a personal mission to make sure our nation's veterans are not forgotten. An idea 23-year-old Ashley Hyde had three years ago has taken off.
In the first year Ashley Hyde and her mom wrote nearly 500 Christmas cards for veterans by themselves. Now as they prepare to go into their fourth year, they are looking at writing nearly 20,000 cards and it's a task they can no longer accomplish alone.
"I'm an Air Force brat, so with that comes a lot of patriotism and I've always had an immense love for my country," she said.
It's why Hyde has started to reach out to the public to help support her organization "The Art of Encouragement." Saturday at Quail Springs Mall she held her first ever public "Card-A-Thon" event as a way to recruit members of the public to help write cards. The event also helped raise money for the cost of shipping the cards, which now reach veterans all over the U.S.
"We started out just sending them in Oklahoma but last year we were able to send to 52 different facilities all over the country," said Hyde.
Many of the veterans are often forgotten about Hyde added.
"There are a ton of organizations, and rightfully so, that send package to troops overseas and make sure they're taken care of and get Christmas gifts. But sometimes we forget the guys that come home, forget about the ones that have been home for years. They still made the same sacrifices and we need to take care of them too," Hyde said.
In her first public event, Hyde was able to raise $70 with an additional $150 in pledges. To be able to ship all the cards people signed Saturday, she said she will need to raise $2,000.