This Thanksgiving, nearly 2,800 soldiers will receive a few words of gratitude from Forsyth County.
A group of about 150 North Forsyth High students, members of the school's DECA chapter, wrote and collected letters to send to soldiers serving in Iraq.
"It was a lot of fun and it's a good way to give back to the people who are trying to help us," said junior Josh Cummings. "It made me feel good to know that we could help someone who's fighting for us feel better."
All letters were written last month on DECA SERVE Day, when students dressed in camouflage and dedicated time during lunch and class to thank a soldier.
DECA, or Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an association of marketing students that encourages the development of business and leadership skills.
Cummings, a DECA officer, wrote three of the letters and worked with other members to read over all 2,800 of the letters.
Kathy Kemp, DECA assistant adviser, said the program began last year, when about 1,300 letters went out. This year, the group also sent care packages with the help of veterans from Cumming First United Methodist Church.
The church's veterans, who often ship care packages to soldiers overseas, were the perfect resource for Kemp, who at first wasn't sure how to go about shipping the packages.
"We were looking for someone to sponsor getting this stuff out there and the veterans at the church paid the postage and sent everything out for us," she said. "There were 15 boxes full of stuff to give to the soldiers.
"We sent them last week so they would have them before Thanksgiving."
In addition to stationary, shampoo, socks and other useful supplies, the care packages also contained fun items like gum and candy.
"I think they're going to feel very happy to know that there are students that want to talk to them and are willing to give them things that they can't normally have on a day to day basis," Cummings said.