By Shawn Chitnis

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at King-Murphy Elementary School wrote letters to service members Thursday to include in care packages sent overseas this fall in time for the holidays.

“Dear Army Person, You are such a risk taker in so many ways,” one second-grade student read aloud to the class.

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The tradition started nearly a decade ago by staff at Tall Grass Spa & Salon in Evergreen, involving students to show them the meaning of sacrifice and understand the commitment the military makes to its country.

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“No matter where you are and who you are, someone over here is thinking of you,” said Shannon Marinos, an employee of Tall Grass Spa and a parent at King-Murphy.

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In addition to the letters from students, the boxes include a variety of toiletries that service men and women need each day while they’re deployed.

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“Things that you think of that you use that are hard for them to have over there,” she said. “It’s almost like a little piece of home, that you just get that comfort of.”

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Each box has enough supplies for 10 service members. The organizers of this project hope to complete 250 boxes for the holiday season. They work with students to do this type of donation again in the spring for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It’s a program that has made a difference year after year.

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“We had a soldier from Iowa call in,” she said. “He was there for six months and it was the first care package he had ever gotten, and he was just so thankful.”

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Students at a young age are already appreciating the difficult assignment these men and women have signed up for with their service.

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“Thank you for protecting America and taking risks to protect us,” a student wrote in their letter.

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“You make our world peaceful, thank you for keeping us safe,” another student shared with the class.

“Thank you for what you did for the world,” another read aloud to the room.

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For parents it is a valuable lesson they are eager to teach their children. The idea that someone has to protect their freedom.

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“I want them to know that, I think being overseas is something you want to do but they’re doing it for you,” said Marinos. “It’s unspeakable what they do.”

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What seems to stick with children of this age the most is the time spent away from loved one.

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“You left your family to serve our country and fight against other countries, thank you risk taker,” one boy wrote at the end of his letter.

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“Dear service person, Happy Halloween, I hope you do not miss your family so much,” a girl in the class read aloud.

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“If I were you, I would miss my family a lot,” another girl wrote in her letter.

Shawn Chitnis reports weeknights for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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