How an Act of Generosity Reconnected Woman With Long Lost Cousin


WINCHESTER, Calif., March 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jo Ann Williams of Rialto, California has for years been a supporter of national nonprofit organization Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), the largest provider of free therapeutic arts & crafts kits to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and military hospitals worldwide.

"I liked the idea of helping someone who had served our country. Sometimes when you give to charity you don't get to see the result of your donation, but when HHV gives crafts to hospitalized veterans you know your donation had an impact because you hear directly from veterans who received a kit," Williams said.  Each craft kit includes a donor thank you card, allowing the veteran to write a message and mail the card back to the donor.  "I've received between 35-40 thank you cards from all over the world.  It's heartwarming to hear from veterans who benefit from my giving," added Williams.

Recently Williams received a thank you card in the mail and noticed that the name of the veteran who received her kit was Galloway.  She grew interested in finding out if there was a connection to a long lost cousin with the same name, as they grew up together and spent holidays as a family but had lost touch—they'd not spoken in close to 30 years.  Williams decided to send a letter to the return address on the thank you card, inquiring if there was a family tie.

"After a few weeks I received a letter from my cousin, Charlene.  It turns out the kit I donated had been given to my cousin's son at a VA medical center.  Charlene and I have had fun catching up on old times and since I'm 83 years old now, there was a lot of catching up to do.  We hope to have a reunion this summer and may even meet at Disneyland.  Charlene, I've learned, is quite aware of the HHV craft kit program, as the kits were helping her son and other hospitalized veterans who receive them.

"As a donor, I cannot truly express the pride I feel in supporting HHV," Williams said.

Since 1971, HHV has donated over 27 million kits.  For more information please visit or call (888) 567-VETS.

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