Each of our boxes of blank cards is topped off with a bag of “AnyHero” mail.
These are cards and letters (or, with kids they can be coloring pages) from people across America with messages of gratitude and encouragement inside. We call them “AnyHero” letters because they’re going to be given out by our contacts to those who get little or no mail. If they were “Any Soldier” they would have to go to the Army, so we keep away from branch-specific language.
PLEASE, no season/holiday-specific hero mail except at Christmastime (due Dec 1). It can take us a month or two to get them all processed/read, and making them for a season means our heroes feel they’re getting “stale” mail. (Also – don’t date the letters.)
AnyHero mail does NOT need to be stamped on the back with our name, NOR does it need envelopes.
Are these letters important? You bet! Listen to one airman:
“It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to read a note of thanks and appreciation from people that don’t even know us. A few of us teared up a bit and all we can do is just pass on our sincerest thanks for the cards and letters. It lifted our spirits today and will help carry us through our journey here in Afghanistan.” T. N. C., MSgt, USAF
If you have a moment, please watch this episode of OWHtv to learn what happens to your AnyHero mail and get some tips on what to write and how to send them! More Q&A below the video.
How long does it have to be?
These notes can be short or long; we get folks who write 2-3 page letters, others who jot a note in a storebought notecard, and kids who draw elaborate pictures or color downloaded pictures for our heroes to display. All are welcome!If you choose to use a storebought card with a sentiment inside, please jot a short note along with it instead of just signing it.
Who do I write it to?
You can start your letter “Dear hero,” “To an American hero,” or a variation – or simply start with “Hello!” We use the term hero instead of soldier because then the letters can apply to any branch of the armed services.
Does hero mail need envelopes?
No envelopes please; as we review all mail before it’s sent; having no envelopes at all is actually easier for us.The letters are placed in a ziploc bag on the top of our cards.
Can it be typed?
Handwritten really gives these letters a personal touch; you can keep it short if you don’t want to handwrite a lot!
Does it need to be stamped with OWH on the back?
Can I get others involved?
Sure! Letter writing is a great community activity; we’ve had schools, corporate offices, holiday parties, all sorts of groups have had cardsignings. We’ve even had folks set up a table at a local store or art festival and invite people to write a note to a hero, and some have carried postcards on flights to ask other passengers to sign them. You’ll be amazed at how many people would enjoy writing a note.
What should I talk about in a letter?
Anything! Thank them. Tell them the freedoms you’re grateful for. Share your life with them if you wish – describe your family, community, hobbies. They love to hear that life is going on well here at home – so send them a news clipping about a happy story in your hometown, or a cartoon that will make them smile. Tell them your pet’s latest antic.
What should I NOT talk about in a letter?
Politics, negative news, anger about the war or society. Our heroes need positive encouragement, so save these views for the water cooler Please read the Schools and Scouts page if you’ve got children writing letters so you can help guide them.
Where do I send my letters?
Mail them to the shipping address listed in the Mailroom.
Do I need to include anything else when I mail my letters?
Please be sure to enclose a completed Packing Slip, so we can let you know they arrived safely.