FPU’s “Dear Veteran” returns to wish vets a Merry Christmas

Each card should contain a message to a veteran, be sealed and say “Dear Veteran” on the outside


Valley residents are invited to give a veteran a warm Christmas wish through a program sponsored by Fresno Pacific University.

“Operation ‘Dear Veteran’” encourages people to bring Christmas cards to one of the five FPU campuses or mail them to the main campus, where FPU staff will distributed them to local VA hospitals, the Veterans Home of California and other area veteran groups. Each card should contain a message to a veteran, be sealed and say “Dear Veteran” on the outside.

Last year’s maiden effort resulted in cards for 1,600 veterans from individuals, families, elementary schools and churches—more than triple the amount organizers had hoped for.

“I get choked up just thinking about it,” Denise Baronian, FPU executive director of regional enrollment and head of the project, said at the time. “Once the word got out and people caught the vision, we were overwhelmed with cards.”

FPU has about 100 students who are veterans of the U.S. military. David Black, FPU veteran outreach and student service coordinator, and others work to make sure they are served and feel included by the university.

“Being a veteran myself, I always enjoyed receiving and reading cards from complete strangers; just knowing we were not forgotten,” says Black.

Black, who is also the State Commander for AMVETS Department of California, has volunteered at Fresno VA Medical Center and knows how many local hospitalized veterans are alone at this time of year.

Faculty and staff at each of FPU’s five campuses—Merced, North Fresno, the main campus in Southeast Fresno (including Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), Visalia and Bakersfield—aid in the effort.

Find the nearest FPU campus at Locations | Fresno Pacific University or pack cards into a larger envelope and mail them to:

Denise Baronian
c/o Fresno Pacific University
5 River Park Place West #303
Fresno, CA 93720


Fresno Pacific University is the only accredited Christian university founded in the Central Valley. FPU connects every student’s untapped potential with unlimited opportunity for professional, personal and ethical growth. FPU offers undergraduate, graduate and seminary programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation to more than 3,500 traditional and adult students on the main campus in southeast Fresno and regional campuses in North Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Merced as well as online. The university also reaches about 8,000 students through professional development studies. FPU has the highest four-year graduation rate of any Central Valley college or university, and is a Hispanic Serving Institution, with a Hispanic student population of 47 percent. FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top tier among western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report. Both U.S. News and Washington Monthly include FPU on their “Best Value” and “Best Bang for the Buck” lists, U.S. News places it at number 13 in its category for student social mobility and Money has ranked it at number 11 among 50 Best Colleges for Transfer Students. FPU is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Church, and all employees express a personal Christian commitment and support the Christian mission of the university. A description of the unique quality of FPU as an academic community can be found in the Fresno Pacific Idea at fresno.edu/about/fpu_idea.


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