July 05, 2011

Palazzo offers public kiosk to write letters to troops

Palazzo provides interaction kiosk for patrons to message the armed troops overseas.

Palazzo offers public kiosk to write letters to troops - Living - ReviewJournal.com

Posted: Jul. 3, 2011 | 1:59 a.m.
If you're looking to channel your patriotic feelings into something worthwhile on the eve of Independence Day, the Palazzo has the machine for you.

And no, we're not talking about a slot machine.

A few weeks ago, the Palazzo installed an electronic kiosk in the resort's atrium, enabling the public to write letters of support to American troops. And they didn't stop there. Management installed a letter-writing program on 2,500 internal computers, giving employees the means to write their own notes.

The letters will be given to the local chapter of the USO for distribution.

Patriotism and community service aren't too often associated with Strip casinos. But Sheldon Adelson started changing that when he decided to host a group of Wounded Warriors at The Venetian three years ago. The service members stayed in suites, enjoyed fine dining and experienced the best that his hotels had to offer, says Dawn Britt, the director of public relations for The Venetian and Palazzo.

The Venetian has hosted six Wounded Warrior groups during the past three years. When staff members were planning this year's event, they wanted to do something a little extra, Britt says.

The driving force of the USO is to provide troops with homey touches through care packages and letters from home, notes Doug Bradford, director of the USO Las Vegas center at McCarran International Airport, so the Palazzo's plan was a welcome effort.

"Messages that come from home really mean a lot to our troops who are in a war zone, because it shows them that people still support them," Bradford says.

The USO will distribute some letters to troops who are passing through the airport to either deploy or return home. The majority of the notes are to be placed in care packages along with gum, razors, shampoo and other personal items, Bradford says. The USO is working with other Strip casinos on future letter-writing campaigns.

Since installing the writing kiosks in May, the Palazzo has received about 500 letters from a variety of contributors, including children and veterans. The campaign runs through Monday, Britt says.

"I was amazed at how the Palazzo decorated the entire area with red, white and blue. It's just marvelous. It gives you a sense of pride, and these are the kinds of things that strengthen our community."

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at [email protected] reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564.

Here is a sample of the 500 letters written to American troops at the Palazzo's letter-writing kiosks:
Message: "As a Vietnam vet I understand a little of what you guys are going through. Regardless of the times or reason we are at war, for each soldier the experience of being away from home and family and not knowing if you'll ever see them again is the same! Thank you all for the tremendouse (sic) sacrafice (sic) you make for us every day and may you come home safe and sound as soon as possible!"
Message: "Words are insufficient in expressing the gratitude and admiration I have in my heart for soldiers like you who so selflessly give of their lives to defend our nation and its blessings of liberty. Thank you for making the United States of America the most fortunate and blessed of all the world. Your sacrifices of your time, your separation from the land and those you love and the risks you incur 24 hours a day around the clock is not in vain. Much love and prayers to our U.S. troops."
Message: "Dear Soldier, my husband is a soldier who has recently returned from his second deployment to Iraq, and the joy that I have felt at his safe return is one that I know your loved ones will feel when you are safely back in their arms. Keep this thought alive in your heart as you go through your deployment, when things are bleak and at their worst, just remember the joy that your families and friends will have upon your safe return. Your absence is surely felt in your communities and it is because of your sacrifice that these communities are able to enjoy the quality of life that they do. Thank you for everything that you have sacrificed, and for everything that you will sacrifice so that our country and its citizens may enjoy a life free from fear. I am proud of you."
Message: "I was 17 when I joined the U.S. Marines about 16 years ago. I remember while I was in Iraq a fire fight. Thirteen (of) my squad members didn't come back home. One of our squad mates, he was like a brother to me, had in his possession a letter of a fifth-grader from Tennessee. It was a drawing of a Green Army soldier man, beach, sand, a sun with a smile on it, ice cream, a red car and a U.S. flag. On the top was written "my hero." It took that for me to realize how much of a sacrifice we had been doing. What we voluntarily gave up. That drawing was more than a thousand words. It reminded me what we were fighting for. To this date I still have that picture mounted (on) my wall. Next to all the awards and medals I ever got and my Purple Heart. All the medals, pins and awards you will get can not put into words how much of a Hero you are; to sacrifice that which you loved the most and leave it behind to defend that which you love the most. Come back home safe, Hero.

Palazzo offers public kiosk to write letters to troops - Living - ReviewJournal.com

Posted by keefner at July 5, 2011 07:42 AM