PHOENIX, April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- U-Haul Company's longstanding commitment to honoring and assisting veterans will be on display locally Friday with the arrival of The Tribute Journey at the Phoenix VA Hospital.
The Tribute Journey, carried out by Gold Star Mother and artist Kathryn Cross, is an expression of appreciation for our veterans and current military service members through the hand delivery of custom greeting cards. Illustrations and poetic verses are crafted by Cross, while the cards are printed at U-Haul headquarters in Phoenix.
U-Haul is sponsoring Cross on her 8,263-mile trip that features stops at 16 hospitals across eight states and three Canadian provinces. More than 5,400 cards and hugs of gratitude will be issued along the way.
Phoenix will be the third stop on the Tribute Journey as Cross and U-Haul Team Members visit the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center at 650 East Indian School Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"We have to say thank you, and I believe in saying it loud and handing them a greeting card that means something," Cross said. "They cry. They smile and clutch onto these cards. They decorate their rooms with these cards."
Cross has been making cards for veterans since 2009, a labor of love she began in the memory of her son, OSSN Tyler J. Connely, who was killed serving his country. Cross started the Tribute Journey to communicate to service members, past and present, that they are never forgotten.
"When I lost my son, I was so heartbroken," Cross said. "He lost his life while on patrol. We don't always remember the ones who serve every day. He's not engraved in granite somewhere. He's engraved in my heart.
"Those who served, the ones in hospitals, are often by themselves. They have no visitors. They need to know that we as a people have not forgotten what they've done to protect our freedom."
U-Haul has partnered with Cross since the annual Tribute Journey began, printing and delivering more than 200,000 cards every year to veterans around the world. U-Haul Team Members volunteer with Gold Star Mothers in handing out cards at hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Cards are also sent to Navy ships at sea.
U-Haul, which was co-founded by World War II Navy veteran L.S. "Sam" Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, has been recognized on multiple occasions for its commitment to being one of the top military-friendly U.S. employers.
To read more about how U-Haul is supporting veterans and helping your community, please visit myuhaulstory.com.