Apex girl starts letter-writing campaign for the troops
Posted November 11, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — With 200 letters and counting, 9-year-old Ive Jones, of Apex, is on a mission. The fourth-grader wants to collect 1 million letters to send to U.S. troops overseas.
It's a project years in the making, as she wrote to her father during his four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I sent him (letters) saying things like, 'I really love you,' and 'I think you do the most important job that there ever is out there,'" Ive said Friday.
She started writing letters to other troops last year and also began asking people in the community to also write them.
She spent Veterans Day going around Apex collecting cards from drop boxes she placed around town to send to soldiers in Afghanistan and Kuwait as a way to say thank you and to let them know they are appreciated.
"I want (our troops) to think that somebody cares for them," Ive said. "I want to do this, because it's a way of showing that soldiers do matter and no one has forgotten them."
Over the past three years, Ive's dad, U.S. Army Maj. Courtney Jones, has spent 80 days with his family.
He knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of those letters and cards.
"It warms your heart (to receive letters), especially from little kids," Jones said. "A lot of it is about building character for kids to reach out to perfect strangers that they don’t know and take the time to write a letter."
For Jones and Ive, he said, the letter writing back and forth helped build a bond between them.
"It’s the fact that she took time out to sit down and write it and mail it," he said. "Receiving a letter is so much better than an email. Honestly, it’s a lost art."
Ive and her father invite others to write letters and drop them off in Apex at Thales Academy (1177 Ambergate Station), Apex Eye Care Center (800 W. Williams St.) or Tag Gymnastics (1040 Vision Drive).
"(Mahatma) Gandhi said, 'Be the change you want to see in the world,' and I want to be," Ive said. "I want to see a change in the world, and I want to make the world better."