John Kelly's Washington

John Kelly: Using Pocket Change and Stickers, He Offers Thanks for Soldiers

Scott Kreger, 44, wants to make his
Scott Kreger, 44, wants to make his"AFG" and "IRQ" stickers available for free to any veteran who wants one. One sticker costs 6 cents to make. (By John F. Kelly -- The Washington Post)
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By John Kelly
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scott Kreger thought he had a good idea, but how could he be sure? How would people react when his idea -- so simple, so heartfelt -- finally made the journey from imagination to reality?

What would the world think of the way Scott had decided to thank the men and women fighting in our nation's two wars?

His idea is to give every veteran who did a tour of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq a white oval bumper sticker inspired by those we see at the beach. But instead of saying "OBX" or "OC," they would say "AFG" or "IRQ." Underneath would be the words, "I served."

A marathoner, he has a "26.2" sticker on his car. Why not show a different kind of solidarity?

The Germantown resident had a few stickers printed up and late last week launched a Web site -- inviting veterans to request them. The e-mails started pouring in.

"I have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I would like to request one of each sticker," wrote a veteran living in Nevada.

"Currently serving in Baghdad Iraq for a SECOND time!" wrote a man from Florida requesting an "IRQ" sticker. "Missing my wife and family lots."

"I will display it proudly," wrote a soldier from Pennsylvania.

A mother from Oregon: "This sticker is for my son, a wounded warrior from Afghanistan."

A grandmother from Illinois: "This is for my grandson."

Scott, 44, is an investment adviser at RBC Wealth Management in Rockville. Like a lot of us, he doesn't have much contact with soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines. In this era of the all-volunteer military, war can be an abstraction and the people fighting, just faces on the evening news.

"I felt like I was not giving back," Scott said. "I'm sitting there in my air-conditioned office, and people are dying for this country."

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