In light of the upcoming holidays, Wells Fargo financial advisor Allen Olender and his colleagues are hoping to send 1,000 thank you, Christmas and Hanukah cards to 1,000 American troops.
Birmingham residents are encouraged to drop by the Birmingham offices of Wells Fargo Advisors, located in suite 400 at 255 E. Brown St., and sign a card today between 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
“The impetus really came from the Boy Scouts who had a national program to write letters to soldiers,” Olender said. “My son was an Eagle Scout and I was a longtime leader. Reading about the program I thought it would be an incredible program to take on at Wells Fargo, as we have a complete department dedicated to serving members of the military.”
Working with colleagues and clients, the first batch of holiday and get well cards was mailed in 2009 and divided among the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“We subsequently expanded the program and all (Wells Fargo) branches got involved, so now, usually twice a year, we send cards to servicemen and wome," Olender said. Some cards say thank you, others are holiday wishes – it’s remarkable to have clients and colleagues put forth such an effort.”
Cards will also be available for the public to sign at Emagine Theater locations in Novi, Royal Oak and Woodhaven from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, and at Wells Fargo Advisors offices in Ann Arbor, Clinton Township, Grosse Pointe Woods, Farmington Hills, Northville and Troy.
Olender will collect and distribute the signed cards in time for Christmas or Hanukah to U.S. troops serving in United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and as many other bases, aircraft carriers and hospitals as possible.
Some of the cards will also be inserted into “Hero Packs,” which are backpacks filled with mementos and items designed to help connect military kids with their deployed parent. These packs will be filled Oct. 18 at Wells Fargo’s Farmington Hills office. The first 100 will be sent to the children of those serving in AFRICOM.
“We try to send the majority of cards to those who are in harms way the most,” Olender said. “All of our branches will welcome local citizens to write thank you, or Merry Christmas … whatever people would like to write to our servicemen and women. Without a doubt we will achieve our goal.”
Those interested in supporting the effort in other ways may contact Olender at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-737-8459.