DEAR ABBY: In December of 1987, I sent six Christmas cards to American servicemen through "Operation Dear Abby." I received an especially friendly response from 1st Lt. Tom Malone who was stationed in Germany. I answered his letter, and we became pen pals and really got to know each other well through our letters.
When Tom came home on leave in May 1988, we met for the first time. It was love at first sight, and on Jan. 7, 1989, we were married!Yesterday, Tom left for duty in the Middle East, and the possibility now exists that these brave men and women may still be in the Middle East for the Christmas holidays. If so, it would be wonderful if they could be remembered through another "Operation Dear Abby" letter-writing campaign.
Thank you, Abby, for all you've done to make sure that the men and women in the military are not forgotten during the holidays. - YVONNE MALONE
P.S. Because of you, I can count myself among the proud sorority of Army wives.
DEAR YVONNE: Congratulations to you and Tom. Please read on:
DEAR ABBY: I've read many letters from the Army and Navy top brass commending you for the morale-boosting mail generated through "Operation Dear Abby." You deserve a whole bunch of "atta girls" for your efforts. This morning as I watched the news, it occurred to me that a blitz of mail would lift the spirits of those serving in the Middle East, 8,000 miles from home in a hot and hostile environment.
How about it, Abby? Can you check with the military honchos and ask if an "Operation Dear Abby/
Desert Shield" can be mounted? Mail from home is a terrific morale-booster. I am a long-married woman in my mid-50s who isn't interested in a romance, but if you can get the go-ahead for the project and publish the address, I promise to send 10 letters of encouragement and appreciation the day it appears in your column. - JEAN PUTT, LOS ANGELES
DEAR JEAN: Thanks to Sgt. Mary M. Ratliff, immediate clearance has been received from the Pentagon. Cards, letters and packages can be flown to those men and women serving in the Middle East.
I hope my readers will respond again. Service organizations, schoolchildren, grandparents, retired people, veterans - anyone who has the time and heart to write - please participate in this patriotic morale-boosting campaign.
Address your cards and letters for the Army, Air Force and Marines stationed on land to: Any Serviceperson, Operation Dear Abby/Desert Shield, APO New York, NY 09848-0006.
For the Navy and Marines on ships: Any Serviceperson, Operation Dear Abby/Desert Shield, FPO New York, 09866-0006.
To get Abby's booklet, "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)