Ashley Jenovai is one of many who love Longview and its people, but there are few who put their affection into action like her. She is the driving force behind the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. Her three children, Paityn, Troy and Cole are among the many students of J.L. Everhart who have signed Christmas cards to be sent to active duty members of the armed forces who will not be able to come home for the holidays. This is a very personal cause for her.

Her husband Derek is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, and has been on active duty for eight years. His points of deployment have been Iraq, Afghanistan and Quatar. Her poignant words betray her fears as she can never know if he will return alive.

“I was stressed out each time he was deployed, and the children were empty,” she said. “Sending these cards through the Red Cross lets the soldiers know they are not alone. We are thinking of them.” Jenovai stresses the need to express active support on the home front as well as on the front lines. Few soldiers get the opportunity to take off from their duties to see their families.

J.L. Everhart student Chloe Streetman appreciates Jenovai and her efforts to support our troops. Chloe also can empathize with the pain of having a loved one serving in a faraway theater of operations. Her cousin Brandon is one of our heroic soldiers.

“The cards that we signed and are sending to the military is a good thing,” said Chloe. “Because some of them do not get to come home and be with their families, with these cards we want them to know we are thinking of them wherever they are serving.”

Even pre-kindergarten pupil Daytri Jones has the whole mission down pat. “We want to give the cards to the Army for the good they do for us,” said Daytri. Another prekindergartener, Kayla Crawford added, “I like to make the card for the people in the Army. They deserve it!”

Everyone in the student body at J.L. Everhart, from Principal Kim Marshall on down, is participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes out of sheer and literal love and gratitude for our soldiers. The campaign also dovetails with the International Baccaulareate curriculum of both taking action and showing care.