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Congratulations Houston, you showed your big heart once again.

The Move America Forward tour stopped off at the Wal-Mart on Highway 6 North this afternoon and asked Houstonians for help in sending care packages overseas to American troops. Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee spoke with Hair Balls and had good things to say about the generosity of H-Town. (By the way, Gold Star Moms are mothers who lost a son or daughter who was on active duty in the armed forces. Lee lost her son Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy Seal who was killed in Iraq, when he turned into oncoming fire to provide cover for his fellow soldiers.)

But back to Debbie Lee's visit here today: "We just love the people here. Houston is amazing -- they're so patriotic and supportive of our troops. It's one of our favorite places to go through. Across the country, we have seen amazing results of people supporting the troops."

"This is one of the best Decembers that we've had in terms of people willing to step up to the plate and support care packages for the troops. You would think not, because this is one of the worst Decembers the country has had economically in years. But people are willing to help the troops no matter how they're doing themselves," says Lee.

Lee admits that with many people ardently opposed to the war and the politics surrounding it, it can be tough separating support for the troops and support for the war. "We're not making a political stand here. We're saying, 'These are our men and women who volunteer to serve our country and fight for our freedom. This is just a way to thank them for their service.' That's all."  

(Of course, if you want her personal opinion, Lee will happily tell you that her son was committed to what he was doing and that he believed that Iraq would be better for it. But that's only if you ask her; mostly she's just focused on getting care packages to the soldiers overseas.)

Lee says she went to Iraq last Christmas, handing out cards and care packages, and saw first hand what the packages meant to the troops. "We picture these guys as our warriors, brave and tough. But when I was over there, I would see them open up the packages and cards and I'd see tears trickle down their cheek as they'd realize that somebody back at home still remembers them and that they're fighting for our freedoms. It means so much to them. It's huge."

You can help Move America Forward, just go online to www.moveamericaforward.org and click on the Coffee and Cookies icon. From there you can select what size care package you'd like to send to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, from a single solider ($24.99) to a squad ($124.99) to a brigade ($699.99), and lots of choices in between. Care packages include coffee (in short supply overseas), cookies, and candy (for soldiers to hand out to children).

-- Olivia Flores Alvarez

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