UF Student Designs Christmas Card for Soldiers
With the holiday season on the way, celebration plans are being made and Christmas cards are being sent. U.S. troops overseas – 117 of them – will receive a card designed by Joy Salzwedel, junior art major and Campus Program Board (CPB) member.
The Christmas cards are being distributed by the American Red Cross Hancock County chapter, which is collecting approximately 500 cards from the Hancock County area.
What makes Salzsedel’s contribution especially unique is that the cards were signed by attendees of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) annual Midwest Regional Conference in Coralville, Iowa, Oct. 26 – 28.
Prior to the conference, Sharinda Welton, director of student activities, commuter services and leadership development, asked Salzwedel if she would be interested in designing a Christmas card for the Red Cross’ “Holiday Mail for Heroes” campaign.
The American Red Cross provides a service to soldiers and their families called Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES.) This service gives additional support services to veterans and families, as well. AFES collects Christmas cards from all over the country and then delivers them to soldiers all over the world as part of the “Holiday for Heroes” campaign.
“I thought it was a great idea for a great cause, so I happily accepted,” said Salzwedel. “I felt honored to be trusted with the opportunity.”
Through Welton, staff members at APCA learned about the Red Cross campaign and asked that it be part of their APCA Cares volunteer and community service program.
Welton was in charge of APCA Cares throughout the Midwest regional conference. In addition to other community service activities, attendees wrote special notes in the Christmas cards for U.S. troops overseas.
Salzwedel wanted to keep the card design simple while providing an image that may give those overseas a sense of comfort.
“It’s a decorated Christmas tree in a stone cabin,” said Salzwedel. “The design was mostly my perception of a warm, traditional home with the tree beside the fireplace and candles upon the mantelshelf.”
The artwork evolved from a pastel drawing to a watercolor painting over a graphite sketch as Salzwedel searched for the best way to illustrate her idea. It was digitally copied and reproduced for the Christmas cards.
“The artwork was originally going to be a pastel drawing, but I wasn’t getting the feel or the look I wanted in the preliminary sketches,” said Salzwedel. “I tried exploring some other mediums, and watercolor quickly became the obvious choice.”
Welton will deliver the signed cards to Findlay’s local American Red Cross chapter, from where they will be mailed overseas, so that Salzwedel’s design can be enjoyed by many across the world.
Written by Sarah Foltz