ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a friendship thousands of miles in the making. On Christmas Eve, KRQE first shared the story of an Albuquerque student’s letter making it to a soldier serving overseas, who also happens to be from Albuquerque.
It originally started as a class project at South Valley Preparatory School in Albuquerque, writing letters thanking our military for their service. The school had no idea just how much one letter would hit home — and the unlikely friendship it would create.
The letter written by a local middle school student wasn’t directed to any person in particular and was part of a group of care packages going overseas. The letter made it more than 7,000 miles around the world to Kuwait where it ended up with a soldier from Albuquerque.
“I didn’t believe it at first. I had to re-read it a couple of times,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Uriel Corral Guzman. “I thought it was really crazy because I was all the way around the world in Kuwait and it actually came from somebody young and somebody from my hometown, Albuquerque.”
It was just the piece of home Corral Guzman needed. He says it kept him motivated while overseas.
“I got this letter, I wanna say, about seven months, six or seven months in the deployment,” said Corral Guzman. “It really made me a lot more happy and motivated me more to see people actually writing us.”
Now home from deployment, there was one more mission he had to complete: meet the writer. Jarely Acosta, 12, is a seventh-grader at South Valley Prep. She never would’ve thought she would get to meet the soldier who received her letter.
“It was really exciting, once I saw that he was coming,” said Acosta. “I didn’t think this was going to happen because they’re mostly busy and they have to be in other places and I didn’t think he was going to come.”
Carol Sanchez is a mom of a service member. She and other Blue Star Moms helped organize the care packages and letters that eventually made it to Corral Guzman.
“When we put them in the boxes, we know they’re going to go to someone who is serving, not necessarily our own sons and daughters but our country’s sons and daughters,” said Sanchez, who is President of the Rio Grande Valley Blue Star Mothers. “They mean the world to them. They will put them in a special box, container, they will read them over and over again while they’re deployed. They will share them with their battle buddies or whoever they’re deployed with, and then they’ll bring them home and have them in a special place and hold onto them for many, many years.”
As he gets ready to head back to his base in Colorado, this sergeant is bringing back more than just his letter.
“It was really nice to see her reaction and how happy she was to see me and how thankful she is and all her emotions coming through. It was really good to see her and thank her in person for the letter she wrote to me,” said Corral Guzman. “I appreciate the letter and all the support they’ve shown me, and happiness. It was really great to see that today.”
It’s proof that just a pen and some paper can make all the difference.
Acosta’s letter was just one of more than 150 sent out before the holidays and the school plans to continue the program. The Rio Grande Valley Blue Star Mothers coordinate 1,200 care packages and letters throughout the year.