Lynnwood man seeks community’s help in sending holiday messages to Gold Star families

A Lynnwood man is asking for the community’s help in sending holiday messages to families of military members who have died serving their country.

In front of his south Lynnwood home along 208th Street Southwest, Patrick Crosby has erected a 14-foot Christmas tree that he has decorated with photos of 50 Washington state military service members who were killed in action. Crosby said he is hoping to have members of the community write holiday messages for each family of the people photographed.

To make the effort possible, Crosby – husband of newly-elected Lynnwood City Councimember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby — partnered with Campbell’s Tree Farm in Snohomish County, who donated the tree. Photos decorating the tree were donated by the Washington state chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers.

As chair of the Northwest chapter of The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation — a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for military members wounded in action and their families — Crosby said he is hoping to show respect for military families while also raising awareness.

“It’s about love, honor and respect,” he said. “That’s all (families) are looking for.”

To write a holiday message, Crosby is inviting people to visit his home — located at 6406 208th St. S.W. in Lynnwood — where they will find writing supplies outside the gate. After writing a message, visitors can leave notes on the gate with zip ties and he will collect them later to add to the tree.

Crosby said he plans to send the messages to the families in January.

This is the first year Crosby has coordinated the outreach effort; however, he said it will not be the last. Though he would to send messages to all 50 families, Crosby said he is aiming to have at least 30-40 messages to send in the new year.

The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation was founded in 2009 by Randy Couture, a retired mixed-martial artists and former U.S. Army sergeant. The foundation’s goal is to help prior service members who sustained injuries like traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries or are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by fulfilling any of their unmet needs as they return to civilian life.

According to Crosby, last year the foundation raised nearly $300,000 that went toward helping military veterans to ease their physical, psychological and financial hardships.

To learn more about the Couture Foundation, click here.

–Story and photo by Cody Sexton

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