Student expands support efforts
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Thanks to a Dallas teen, some lucky 2nd Infantry Division grunts will come out of South Korea’s gritty field exercises with “naturally glowing skin.”
The $30 bars of Rena Levi “Vanishing Act” soap are among the thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and gift certificates that high school senior Tania Foster has sent through her charity, Dallas is Love, since she toured U.S. Forces Korea bases last year.
Foster began the charity in 2005 as a way to help servicemembers in South Korea who were separated from their families. Foster’s father is retired Army Lt. Col. Patrick Foster, and her mother’s family is South Korean.
Since visiting soldiers here in June, Foster has expanded Dallas is Love to include U.S. servicemembers in other theaters.
“As more people visited my Web site, www.dallasislove.org, I started to get response from all over the world,” Foster wrote via e-mail. “Therefore, I wanted to reach out to troops all over the world as they all serve their duty of keeping the peace.”
Foster currently is working with soldiers in Kosovo to support their efforts to help an elementary school there, she said.
She sent thousands of dollars in post exchange gift certificates and other freebies with Dallas KLIF radio hosts, who took their show to Baghdad earlier this year.
Soldiers in Germany, Kansas and California also have received gifts raised through Dallas is Love, she said.
“I think it’s outstanding what she’s doing, not just for our soldiers but for everybody," said Staff Sgt. J.D. McNeely of 2nd Infantry Division headquarters company.
Foster has raised the funds while completing her senior year in high school, playing varsity sports and preparing for college.
She has received support from celebrities like former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tony Hill, local sports teams, multinational corporations and individuals.
Foster admits it hasn’t always been easy, but the extra hours and resistance from some haven’t dented her enthusiasm.
“It’s been hard trying to reach people and informing them of my cause,” Foster said. “However, I try to remind them that regardless of their political views, these courageous men and women risk their lives everyday to secure the freedom we take for granted.”