They dubbed it "Operation Thank You." Said Tucker: "I can't think of any better way to make their days brighter. In our minds, this is the best use of our money."
The club has arranged to distribute booklets to the members of the West Virginia Army National Guard and Army Reserve who are going to be returning from Afghanistan. One service member, Capt. Josh Wilson, stationed in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division, wrote a note back to the club after receiving a copy:
"One mail call in particular stands out, as I remember it I received a rather large manila envelope and when opened, much to my surprise was a breathtaking book of pictures that immediately captured my attention and brought me home to the beautiful hills of West Virginia. I spent most of my evening enjoying the work the volunteers from the Buckhannon Upshur Camera Club had put into capturing the natural scenery of our beautiful state. I enjoyed it so much I would insist on showing it to fellow soldiers I met who were also from West Virginia -- all of them thoroughly enjoyed the pictures and captions and expressed how uplifting it was to just see pictures of luscious green mountains and streams from our mountain mama compared to the mundane brown surroundings of eastern Afghanistan."
"We've been thrilled with how it all turned out," said Tucker, noting that the club had so far printed more than 1,000 of the books and that the West Virginia Division of Tourism wants 250 of those.
Club members traveled to Beckley on Dec. 7 to bring books to a yellow ribbon ceremony for the 863rd Military Police Company, a unit that will deploy in 2014, one of several such book-distribution events planned for armed service units.
"A seed was planted and out of it grew an oak tree. It something that just spiraled," said Tucker. "Maybe 50 years from now, someone will look at the book and get a feel for what we were like in 2013."
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.