Pastor launches effort to thank 1 million vets

DOWNEY - Candie Blankman, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Downey and author of "Forged By War: A Daughter Shaped By a World War II POW Story," a vivid account of her dad's tribulations during the Bataan Death March and after, is calling on everybody to say "Thanks" to the dwindling number of WWII veterans as well as all service personnel she estimates at 1 million, in the period between July 4 and Veterans Day."It only takes 30 seconds to walk up to a person and ask their name and say, 'Thank you for your service'", she says. The next thing one should do, she stresses, is go to her website, and register that you said 'Thank you' to so-and-so, preferably with their e-mail address. There is a place on her website, she points out, to even tell a brief account of one's encounter and these she also posts on the website. "We've got to get people to understand what these veterans had been through," Blankman explains. "They went through a lot." This grass roots initiative, 'Thankamillion', is an original idea of hers, she says, because "We are losing 1,000 WWII veterans every day, and time is slipping away to tell them how much we appreciate their service." "I am a hopeless optimist and an idealist," Blankman goes on. "That's why, I'll be honest, although I've had only ten takers to this point, I'm not giving up. I am speaking about it and passing out flyers and cards wherever I go to speak or encounter people. I know that once it gets started it will take off." For Pastor Blankman, who came to First Presbyterian Church of Downey in 2003, the initiative is nothing less than a crusade. It's clear she cares deeply and strongly about the veterans and service personnel who will be honored on Veterans' Day. And it's evident it's her way of honoring the memory of her dad.

********** Published: August 02, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 16