By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Normally she’s all about cancer prevention and fund-raising, but a local woman has decided to join in a national show of support for American troops. Dorothy Nelson, American Cancer Society representative for eastern New Mexico, said beginning today she will don a red shirt on Fridays.
“I think the average American doesn’t have too many ways to show their gratitude. This is simple and easy and I’m going to do it,” she said. “There’s so much negativity. We need to combat that by showing we support our military.”
She also made a badge of the American flag to wear with her red shirt.
Her support-the-troop campaign began when she received a chain e-mail regarding “Red Fridays.” The e-mail prompts recipients to wear red on Fridays in support of the troops.
“Our idea for showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues every Friday until the troops come home, sending a deafening message that every red-blooded American who supports our men and women will wear something red on Fridays,” the e-mail said.
Rarely does she mix other causes with her Relay for Life efforts, she said. However, today she will wear a red Relay for Life T-shirt when she attends the final relay for the year in Roswell.
“Anybody who knows me knows my whole wardrobe consists of relay T-shirts,” she said, explaining she was pleased to discover she had a red one.
Nelson said she rarely forwards e-mail messages, but this one she thought was important, so she said she sent it all over the place, from Clovis to New Hampshire, to friends and family.
Kay Prater, chairperson for the Curry County Relay for Life and colleague of Nelson, said she hadn’t received the e-mail yet but would be happy to join the effort and will absolutely wear a red T-shirt on Fridays.
Military service has been a part of her family for years. Her husband retired from the Air Force after 28 years, her father spent 33 years with the armed forces, her brother is the commander of the Maine National Guard and her stepbrother is in Iraq right now, she said.
Jim Cowman who represents the Marine Corps for the Joint Veterans Council of Clovis, said he had not heard of the plan for Red Fridays.
“If they want to wear red shirts, it sounds like a decent idea. If that makes them feel good and it creates more support for veterans, that’s fine with me. Shake a veteran’s hand and tell them thanks while wearing a red shirt, that’s fine too.”
Text from a chain e-mail circulating in the area:
• Americans who support our troops are the silent majority. We are not “organized” to reflect who we are, or to reflect what our opinions are. Many Americans, like yourself, simply want to recognize that Americans support our troops.