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WASHINGTON — The Big Diesel is sending out a big thank-you to children of deployed servicemembers.

Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal has teamed up with Kids Serve Too, an arm of the charity Salute Our Services, to send notes of encouragement to military children whose parents are serving overseas.

Through the group’s “A Thousand Thanks” program, deployed troops or their spouses can request the group send a letter to their children as a recognition of the sacrifices they make to help keep military families strong.

The note includes a signed autograph picture from either O’Neal, NHRA driver Tony Schumacher, or cartoon characters including Scooby-Doo and Bugs Bunny.

Schumacher drives the Army-sponsored Top Fuel dragster. O’Neal, who also won a gold medal with the U.S. basketball team in 1996, grew up an Army brat.

Parents can request the thank-you packet by visiting and clicking on the “A Thousand Thanks” menu. Delivery takes eight to 10 weeks.

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