Salamander Bay crafter creating cards for Australian Defence Force troops

In a day and age where digital reigns supreme and email is king, receiving a letter or card in the traditional manner – the post – is often a special feeling.

Irene Drieman understands the emotion behind cards, especially the handmade kind.

The crafty Salamander Bay resident, who has been hand making cards for close to 15 years, believes the simple but heartfelt gesture of creating and sending a card has the power to connect friends and families, especially those separated by distance.

“Handmade cards are more personal,” Ms Drieman said. “To think someone has gone and made a card for you, it’s special.

“Families treasure letters that were written during wars. There are World War I letters and postcards that are handed down through families because they’re special.

“Letters and cards are important, even now.”

It is this sentiment that has fuelled Ms Drieman into sharing her handmade cards with Australia Defence Force troops serving overseas.

Ms Drieman plans to send her first batch of cards to the ADF in February.

With help from three friends, Ms Drieman has made close to 400 cards bearing a variety of messages from ‘happy birthday’, to ‘sympathies’, ‘thinking of you’, ‘get well soon’ and ‘happy Easter’, which will be sent to ADF troops serving in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

“I think it’s nice for them to be able to send something home, to be able to write to their families,” Ms Drieman said. “It’s also something special that their families can receive from them.”

The idea to send blank, themed cards to troops came from a magazine article Ms Drieman read last year.

The article was about a South Australian group called Combat Cards.

“Overseas deployments are usually in countries very different to Australia and soldiers don’t usually have access to a “corner shop”,” the group explains on their Facebook page.

Ms Drieman liked the idea but did not know how to get involved.

She did a lot of ringing around – to Combat Cards South Australia, a card making group in NSW and a woman in Toronto that she found out had stopped making cards for the ADF – before eventually making contact with the chaplain at RAAF Base Williamtown, Flight Lieutenant Stephen Moore.

Reverend Moore organised the postage with Ms Drieman. Her first batch is due to be sent on February 12.

Now Ms Drieman is looking for help. She plans to get a group of volunteers together each Monday to create cards.

“It’s open to anyone who would like to get together, sit, socialise and make some cards,” she said.

Anyone who would like to help Ms Drieman can get in touch by phoning her on 4919 1352.

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