Fred Carter said he was already having a great Veterans Day when he checked his mailbox last Tuesday.
The 85-year-old Cutchogue resident had spent the morning visiting his wife at a nursing home in Westhampton. After a patriotic ceremony was held at the facility, the couple watched videos of old Bob Hope USO shows.
When the Korean War veteran returned home that afternoon, he was touched by something he received in the mail. It was a handmade card from a group of local Girl Scouts thanking him for his service.
“When you’re a veteran and you get something like that, it hits you,” Mr. Carter said. He stopped by The Suffolk Times newsroom last week to share his appreciation of the gesture.
It turns out the cards are a local effort rather than part of a nationwide Girl Scouts initiative.
Scout leader Nicole Brewer of Cutchogue said she started the Veterans Day program six years ago as a way to honor local men and women who, like her father, served in the military.
“It was a very simple idea to say, ‘You put your life on the line, this is something we can do for you,’” she said.
The only time she ever saw her father cry, Ms. Brewer said, was the first time he received his Veterans Day card.
Mr. Carter, who served in the United States Constabulary border patrol for three years in West Germany during the Korean War, had the same reaction when he received his card last week.
“I just want to thank the scout leaders and the scouts,” he said. “What a nice thing to do. They don’t always get the credit for all the good things they do, but they deserve it.”
Ms. Brewer said the names and addresses of veterans are collected through the American Legion. When the gathering of names began six years ago — by a group of girls now in high school — about 150 veterans were on the list. That has now expanded to include the names of more than 400 veterans across the North Fork and Shelter Island.
“It’s an effort that really resonates and strikes a chord with the girls and leaders, and also the veterans and their families,” said Ms. Brewer, who added that anyone who would like to add the name of a local veteran to her mailing list can email her at [email protected].