A San Diego woman has made it her mission to give the gift of gratitude to veterans all across the country and she says it’s an effort she holds near and dear to her heart in more ways than one.
It’s a pretty remarkable thing that’s now being recognized on a national scale, as well. Local woman Natalie Reilly was recently featured on the Kelly Clarkson Show to share her remarkable story.
She was recognized on the show by an army veteran whose life was completely changed after finding one of her letters on his car.
Her story is really an incredible one that began with a close loved one.
Reilly and her mother began to write letters to veterans five years ago after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Reilly was her mom’s caregiver during her illness and it started out as a really dark time for the both of them.
However, they both found that instead of thinking about cancer all the time, they needed to focus their energy on something else, something that could help brighten someone else’s day.
“This mission: getting up every morning and having a purpose and going out into the community and giving back and seeing what these notes did for our veterans, our police officers, those people who are out on the frontlines, putting everything out on the line," she explained. "Literally started this wonderful conversation and gave us purpose."
Through the process, Reilly welcomed a few surprises, as well. She met her now-partner, Chris, because of a love note. He is retired law enforcement.
Reilly made a promise to her mother before she passed that she would continue writing these love letters and she continues to do so to this day.
She estimates she’s written more than 10,000 notes, herself, and adds to that total every day.
Reilly is also starting to mail out love letters to nursing homes to reach even more people and she always welcomes anyone who would like to help with this effort.
After appearing on the Kelly Clarkson Show, the San Diegan was contacted by people all across the country wanting to help.
To learn more about Reilly's sweet effort and how to join, click here.