WASHINGTON — Now troops serving overseas have no excuse for forgetting to send a card on Mother’s Day., one of the newest members of the Defense Department’s America Supports You campaign, will allow all servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan to order Mother’s Day cards online and send them home for free.

Company spokesman David Kellis said the promotion is a chance to give something back to the troops for their service.

The company takes all its orders over the Internet, but mails print copies of the personal messages to their destination.

The California-based business will offer the free cards from April 22 until Mother’s Day, May 8, but Kellis said troops must order by May 2 for delivery in time for the holiday.

Special codes to order the cards will be available in Stars and Stripes throughout the week. Troops can design the cards themselves, and even include a current picture in their greeting.

Military kids

Army and National 4-H officials this month launched Operation Military Kids, a support network for children of deployed military personnel, to help families deal with separation from their loved ones.

The program is open to all children of servicemembers but is geared toward those children of deployed National Guard and Reserve members, according to M.A. Lucas, director of the Army Child and Youth Services.

“The children of National Guard or Reserve Soldiers can really have their world turned upside down when a parent deploys,” she said. “They face new stresses and responsibilities at home in helping the remaining parent, and because they aren’t living in a military community may not have peers who can relate to their new situation.”

Programs are currently available in 20 states, and include social events to bring children together and mobile technology labs to help youngsters communicate with their deployed parents via e-mail.

Shoulder holsters

Galco International, an Arizona-based company which manufactures gun holsters, is donating shoulder holsters for M9 pistols to soldiers about to deploy overseas.

The Holster for Heroes program, announced last month, was started after several soldiers commented to company officials about the usefulness of the shoulder holsters.

For each one donated by a customer, the company is donating a second holster. So far 22 of the holsters have been sent to local soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Officials said they are also working with Marines officials in the area to make future donations to those units as well.

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