Honor Our Men's Efforts | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
In April, 1967, Mrs. A. Frank Bridges of Carbondale, Illinois, realized a dream that she had pursued for months -- the establishment of the organization H.O.M.E. (Honor Our Men's Efforts). H.O.M.E. consisted of a group of like-minded women (most of them mothers of servicemen) in response to what they believed was an apathetic reaction on the part of most people to the existence of the undeclared war in Vietnam. Althought as a group they neither supported nor objected to the war, they shared the belief that they should do something to show their support for the men and women of the Carbondale area who had either volunteered for or been drafted into the service.
Beginning with a small number of names and addresses and few workers, H.O.M.E. mailed its first bi-weekly newsletter to servicemen on May 9, 1967. The letter was mimeographed and contained a review of the recent news highlights from Carbondale. Among the topics touched upon were the recent Mayor-City Council election and the Council's first meeting, a fraternity's walkathon in support of the war, the perennial problem of the relocation of the Illinois Central's railroad tracks, and the choices open to Walt Frazier in professional basketball. Stories chosen over the years were generally on a local level, but were always presented in an unbiased manner and with a sense of humor. News of the servicemen themselves was also included.
In the fall of the first year H.O.M.E. also established what was to become an annual project for them, the sending of a Christmas package to each of its correspondents overseas. The packages contained needed items such as razor blades and combs, as well as homemade candy and Christmas cards. H.O.M.E. realized that to send these packages they would need a broader financial base from which to work, and, as a result they sought and were given the support of other civic and social groups in Carbondale. Contributions were made of both money and gift items; the Girl Scouts of Lincoln School, for instance, made a yearly donation of homemade Christmas cards.
H.O.M.E. sent a bi-weekly newsletter to servicemen for over four and a half years, until the spring of 1972 when they changed to a monthly letter. By that time their mailing list had dropped from a high of 250 servicemen to approximately 125, most of whom were in Germany rather than in combat. The last newsletter, No. 116, was sent on May 10, 1972. Each newsletter in the five years had gone into the mail signed by a member of H.O.M.E., frequently with an extra personal note added to it. In addition, letters and telegrams had been sent to men and their families who had been injured or hopsitialized.