Jan. 19 has become more than just Martin Luther King Day.
In 1994, Congress also named the day a National Day of Service, honoring Dr. King's mission of giving back to his community. Students and community members in Fulton Monday took part in William Woods University's service day project.
William Woods University's National Day of Service took place in Professor Terry Martin's art class. Volunteers created greeting cards for American soldiers overseas. But the insides were left blank because these cards are not really for the troops, but for them to send their thoughts and love back to spouses, kids, parents, and significant others at home.
"The cost of postage, in addition to having to pay for all the cards and everything else, it can get kind of costly," says William Woods University Service Learning Coordinator Cassie Davis. "Plus, sometimes its nice to have something fun and decorative to send instead of the same old piece of white paper or something. And it lets the troops know that we care."
Jaci Dawson was eager to be a part of this project. Her father was in the Marines and her brother is currently serving in Iraq.
"I know what its like to have family overseas and its really scary and being able to get a card from them or anything is just like the best news in the world that you can get," says Dawson. "So I'd like to be able to have other families share that as well."
Rachal Aschi came all the way from Columbia to make a card. She also brought her daughter in hopes of setting a good example of community service. And Rachal says the shared day of service and honoring Dr. King makes perfect sense.
"It makes great sense because Martin Luther King, he was all about helping others and giving back to the community and building better communities by helping each other," says Aschi. "So, I think its the perfect match to have them both on the same day."
Professor Terry Martin got the greeting card idea from a group of volunteers in Jefferson City. He and his volunteers have already sent nearly 300 cards overseas. Martin will not be sending these greeting cards to soldiers until they collect several hundred more.