Thanking America’s Heroes

The Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University is making a big impact just in time for the holiday season and following Veterans Day with two small words: thank you.
 
Each week, SLI clinical educator Jill Grogg and a team of speech-language pathology students from Salus lead group therapy sessions at York House Apartments in Philadelphia and Samuel A. Green House Apartments in Elkins Park, Pa. The goal of these sessions is to focus on cognitive wellness.
 
“Memory is really one of the biggest deficits we find in many of the seniors that we work with,” said Grogg. “Really our goal is to help residents keep their brains healthy and active.”
 
During one of their weekly sessions, the group did a reminiscing activity. Grogg was particularly struck by a 98-year-old resident who shared personal stories of bravery and resilience from his time in the service.
 
“One of the residents shared some really great stories and I was inspired to take this a step further,” she said. “I looked online and that’s how I stumbled upon Operation Gratitude.”
 
Operation Gratitude is an organization founded with the mission of lifting the spirits and meeting the needs of United States Military members and first responders. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude has delivered more than 2.1 million care packages filled with letters and tokens of appreciation.
 
“When I looked on their website, there was actually a photo of a soldier who said that he doesn’t get a lot of letters from home,” said Grogg. “I thought there has to be something we can do.”
 
SLI-York-House-Veterans-letters-(1).jpgGrogg and her students worked with residents at York House and Samuel A. Green House to write thank you letters to service members and first responders. For some, it was a chance to connect with a fellow veteran.
 
“One of the residents was actually a medic in the military so it was nice for him to be able to offer a bit of advice from one veteran to another,” said Grogg.
 
Other residents welcomed the opportunity to simply express heartfelt thanks to those protecting our freedoms.
 
“My daughter served for over 20 years. It’s nice to be able to show a token of gratitude,” said Lillian Glover, York House resident. “They work hard and fight to protect us every day so to be able to say ‘thank you’ really means a lot.”
 
Each letter sent through Operation Gratitude is mailed out along with care packages to America’s heroes bravely serving overseas and at home. Click here to find out how you can send a letter through Operation Gratitude.