VA & R
Department of Mississippi
American Legion Auxiliary
UPDATE:  VA & R Chairman Brenda Newell announced that Barbara Baldwin's book is now available to the
public at Cracker Barrel.  It is unknown if all restaurants/country stores has the books, but they have bought a
substantial amount for their stores.

"DEAR SOLDIER" Books for Our Soldiers
From Brenda Newell, March 2008

I have recently had the privilege of meeting Barbara Baldwin, author of “Dear Soldier,” (a collection of children’s  letters to
soldiers), and an Auxiliary member of Pontotoc Unit 16.  Upon hearing that “Dear Soldier” is being read by recovering soldiers
and a request from the Chaplain from Walter Reed for more books has been made, I thought many of the Units in the
Department of Mississippi might be willing to purchase a case.  Barbara has arranged with her publisher to purchase them by
the case at the author’s rate, which is $163.80, plus $10.54 shipping.  To get this special rate the order must come from the
author.  Checks should be made to Thomas Nelson Publishers and mailed to me at 2061 South Pontotoc Road, Pontotoc, MS
38863.  Barbara will assist me with the purchase and will provide any receipts or feedback she receives.  The following is an      
e-mail she received from Chaplain Peter Shoars at Walter Reed.

I have received several of your books to hand out to our wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), and
they have been a blessing!  I am writing to ask if you would donate more of these books to the wounded Soldiers.  I have read
the books with many of the soldiers, and we have laughed and cried together.  I have watched these Soldiers just say thanks,
and even show surprise when I give them the book – they are so happy.  Many have read it over and over and been encouraged
by the books, they have a healing of their own.

Peter D. Shoars, Sr.
Chaplain (MAJ)
Fredericksburg, VA  22407

Barbara has responded by sending a case of books at her own expense.  The Legion and Auxiliary in Pontotoc also have
responded by sending two more cases.  She hopes to be able to send them to other Military hospitals in the    future.  Part of the
proceeds from books sold at retail price is donated to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (, a non-
profit, non-partisan organization, created to provide a meaningful way for individuals, corporations and others to help our
severely wounded and disabled Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans and their families rebuild
their lives.

Comments from reader: I bought the book “Dear Soldier” the other day to send to my husband who is currently deployed in
Iraq.  I read it first and was filled with a feeling I could not describe.  After my husband received it he said it put him back home
for a bit and reminded him he is doing good, he has started passing it around his unit for others to read and share in his comfort.  
Thank you again for taking the time to put a book together that shows both those
young and old care
. – Caitlyn, wife of a deployed soldier.

If your unit does decide to purchase a case or two, you will report it under
Other Program Initiatives on the last line of your V.A.&R. report form.  Write
in Dear Soldier books.

Hey Units—can’t afford a case on your own?  Why not team up with
another unit in your district to purchase the books?

If you have questions, please contact me at 662.489.8550.

Thanks of our help,

Brenda Newell, Chairman