What address do we use for theOpPAL participants?
To assure privacy, we do not give out personal mailing addresses. We use a liaison mailing address that can be found on the right side of this web page, or by clicking the "contact us" links.
Do the cards have to be sent separately or can I put them all in one large envelope?
The cards do not have to be sent separately. Just address each envelope with the name, rank and unit info and leave them unsealed. That's all that's needed if you send them all in one big envelope. The address to use for a bulk envelope is found on the right side of this website, or by clicking the 'Contact us' link.
Does each card have to have postage on it?
If you send a batch of cards in one bulk envelope, you do not have to affix postage on each card
Do we use the full name and mailing address on each envelope or just their name?
If you mail individual cards, you will need the whole address. If you mail a batch of cards in one big envelope you can leave them all unsealed, use the servicemember’s name, rank and unit information on the individual cards and no individual postage is necessary.
How long does it take when a participant is put on the list before he/she starts receiving cards?
It is usually 2-4 weeks before the servicemember will receive the first cards. We post a new name as soon as we have all the information and the family's permission. Then people start writing and mailing to the PO Box. From there our volunteer separates everything and mails a bulk package to each OpPAL participant as fast as it can be done.
Why does the servicemember have to be in the States to be on Operation PAL™ ?
When troops are 'in country', transferred around to different hospitals, or sent to different countries, as you can imagine it is very difficult for their mail to keep up with them. By the time we could write they may be back to work or sent stateside. So from experience we wait until they have been sent stateside to one of the major hospitals before we send the cards and letters.
How can I tell if an OpPAL participant is ill or has been wounded, I want to personalize my notes.
When you click on "List of Names", if you then click on a servicemember’s name, a screen will come up with a brief description of why he/she is on our list and the latest update on that servicemember’s progress. This will allow you to see that a participant may have cancer and you can write differently to him/her than to one who has been wounded in combat, and yet again to one who was injured in a training or vehicle accident.
Can I get updates on the listed troops?
We post updates as we get them. As you can imagine, these families' lives have been turned upside down. Some find that outward communication is therapeutic, some are very private. We honor whatever decisions the family makes. This results in some OpPAL participants with constant updates and others with none. It does not change the fact that they need support. What we DO know is that the recoveries take many months or years and the cards are greatly appreciated by all the families.
Will the participants write back? Are these penpals?
The people on our list are, for the most part, very seriously wounded. We want them to focus on recovery and do not ask that they respond to our cards and letters. We only want to send them support and let them know we care. Please refrain from asking for a reply.
Can I send a care package or gift to an injured servicemember?
Please only send cards and letters through Operation PAL™ to our wounded troops. The biggest reason for this is many are in hospitals or in rooms at rehab centers and we have been told they have very little space. Some are in ICU units where nothing is allowed. Your cards and letters on their own are a big support and encouragement to these awesome men and women and are greatly appreciated by their families.
What should I say when I write?
This is a case where it's the thought that counts. Anything from your heart will be received with appreciation. Depending on the severity of the injury you may be writing to the parents who then read the note to their loved one and parents need words of support too. 'Thanks for serving' and an appreciation of them doing their jobs is appropriate. Notes written by children seem to be particularly heartwarming, no matter what the message.
Some writers send cards regularly and change their messages based on an update, progress, or news article they come across. There are times for consolation but certainly there are times for celebration. For example, as sad as you may find the situation, a Marine who just stood up on his two new prosthetic legs would probably like to get a big OohRah!
How often should I write?
You can write as often as you like. We send the cards when we have enough to make a big batch for each - monthly on average.
How long is OpPAL participant on the list?
The servicemember will be on the list until such time as we hear he/she wishes to be removed. Some go back to work. Most of the time, a participant is removed because the family wants us to focus on the newer ones. Their loved one may still have a long way to go, but is ready to move forward with his/her new life and capabilities.
How often are cards mailed out to the OpPAL participants?
We mail out cards when we have enough for a big batch, for now, usually monthly but more often when holidays are on the calendar.
How can I print a list to give to a teacher or group for a project?
On the left side under "Our Troops" you'll see a link to the "Printable List".
Can I (or my company) help pay some of the postage?
Our expenses consist of postage for each mailing, mailing supplies, PO Box rental and Operation PAL™ printed matter. Your donation is tax deductable. Please use the link to the left near the top called "Donations" to make your contribution. Thank You!