To festive holiday tunes, employees spent their lunch hours recently creating unique holiday cards from multi-colored paper, ribbons and other colorful embellishments.
The cards will go to active military members overseas, who in turn will send them to their loved ones back home over the holidays.
The volunteer effort was part of Operation Write Home, a nationwide program that supports service members through creativity and encouragement. At TEP, dozens of employees participated during two events, putting their personal touches on more than 200 holiday greeting cards.
“This is a way for us to support our troops unconditionally,” said Lynn Borders, an IT Business Analyst who led the event in the downtown Tucson Headquarters building. “What really touched me was, someone said, ‘Your card could be the last one he or she ever sends home.'”
Tammy Owaski, who led the Irvington campus event, said the effort makes a huge impact. “There are no card stores in Kabul or Baghdad, so everyone’s efforts helped out tremendously,” she said. “Sadly, in some instances, one of these cards could be the last note a family member receives from his or her soldier, so we take pride in what is sent out.”
Employees took great care in creating their cards – from picking out the center image and background card color to attaching paper snowflakes and Christmas trees and colorful, sticky beads.
An organization called Club Scrap donated the card stock for the event and introduced Borders to Operation Write Home.
“It’s exciting to think the cards we’re making today are going to end up in the hands of troops who are serving us overseas,” said Mike Baruch, Program Manager, Energy Efficiency. “This is an exciting opportunity to do something simple and to really make a difference.”
The lunchtime activity also gave employees an opportunity to give back during the workday, said Mel Dulaney, Community Relations Coordinator. “Our employees are very passionate about supporting the active military and our veterans,” she said.
It also gave the crafty – and not-so-crafty – an opportunity to put their talents toward a good cause. Said Owaski, a Customer Service Analyst: “The best thing about it is that anyone can participate.”
Operation Write Home accepts cards year-round. The organization also accepts notes written to the soldiers to express gratitude for their services.