By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- A Pike County tradition returns with an easy way to honor veterans, all for the price of a stamp.
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has launched the fourth annual "Let's Say Thanks" program, a countywide recognition program to thank veterans and their families.
The program, thanks to the continued generosity of an anonymous donor, distributes free specially-designed postcards to sites across the county. People are invited to include a personal note, stamp and mail the postcards to veterans and their families in time for Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
"It just touches so many people," Chamber Executive Director Kaye Iftner said. "You see classrooms working on cards together, day cares, 4-H clubs, the goodwill that builds with the kids, the learning process of what Veterans Day is all about. It touches people who mail them and who get them."
Iftner said she starts getting calls each summer asking if the program will be offered and when cards will be available.
Postcards already have been, or soon will be, delivered to sites across the county such as post offices, banks, churches, senior centers, the Pike County Sheriff's Department, businesses, the Pike County Courthouse, city and village offices and the chamber office/visitors center in Pittsfield.
"People feel good about this," Iftner said. "It only costs them a stamp."
That's thanks to the same donor who funded the first program four years ago and sees "the value of repeating it every year," Iftner said.
The new postcard design honors all who serve and thanks all veterans and active duty personnel on behalf of Pike County. Insignia of the various branches of the military are included on the front, with a thank you message on the back: "This card is being sent to you as an expression of appreciation for your service to our country and to Pike County."
The goal is making sure every veteran in Pike County is aware of the program and knows the county and its residents are grateful for his or her service.
"If someone wants to send cards but doesn't think they know a veteran or the family of a veteran, or wants to send more cards than just to people they know, I do have a list of veterans," Iftner said.
More information about the Let's Say Thanks program is available by contacting Pike County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kaye Iftner at 285-2971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.