By Andrew Wroblewski
Two simple words – a saying that is sometimes taken for granted; sometimes forgotten. But sometimes, as was the case for 12-year-old William Connor of Northport, the two words can be inspiring.
“[One day] my dad said 'Thank you' to two soldiers we passed, and when I asked him why he told me a story where somebody thanked my Grandpa Connor when he was walking down the street in his uniform,” Connor, a 6th grader at Northport Middle School, said. “My grandpa remembered that his whole life so my dad always thanks soldiers he sees. And I thought that every soldier should be thanked, so I decided to do it.”
The “it” Connor refers to is “Thank A Soldier” – a movement he founded in 2011, which he’s utilized to send more than 1,000 thank-you postcards to United States servicemen and servicewomen. Connor, who designed the postcard with his sister, can typically be found at local events – such as Northport’s Memorial Day Parade – where he collects the messages and then mails them out through Operation Gratitude and local endeavors.
For his work, earlier this month, Connor was named one of 11 New York State winners of the annual Kohls Cares Scholarship Program. Connor will received a $1,000 scholarship, to put toward his college education.
In fact, though he’s still in middle school, Connor is already planning his college education; he wants to attend The Culinary Institute of America.
“I want to be a chef. Maybe I’ll even cook for the army and give the soldiers really good gourmet meals,” he said.
In the meantime, however, the Northport middle schooler will continue operating Thank A Soldier as he attempts to fulfill his ultimate goal of thanking all of the 1.6 million servicemen and servicewomen in the United States Military.
To join Connor in his efforts, visit the Thank A Soldier Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/1cYH3I5), leave a message and soon it’ll be applied to the back of a postcard and sent off.