Forty-five years ago this Christmas, I was in Vietnam. I pretty much knew that old Santa Clause wouldn’t be making any stops where I was located.
A lady back in Gardner was going to try to make my Christmas special. Peggy Lehman knew of a program, at that time, where military personnel stationed in Vietnam could get a seven day leave to come home to spend Christmas with their families.
Mrs. Lehman and the people of Gardner raised enough money in one day so that I could come home. I didn’t know any of this was taking place.
I was told to report to our CO right away. I didn’t know what to expect, but the question “how would you like to go home for Christmas?” was a long way down on that list. Of course I had some type answer, “yea right.”
He assured me that this was no joke.
Because of things that happened, I was unable to return home for Christmas. I write this letter every five years to thank the people of Gardner and especially Peggy Lehman for remembering me and my family that Christmas.
There are thousands of our country’s military serving all over the world including those here in the United States. Take some time to contact them at “mail call” this Christmas. They will appreciate the thoughts.

Thanks again.
Mike Hutton,
Gardner