- Dorothy Friedlander and I are hosting a dinner tomorrow night at Pulcinella's Restaurant in support of ThanksUSA. We hope you can join us. Here is a heart warming story of two young girls living in McLean, VA, that started ThanksUSA.
While two sisters, Rachel (10) and Kelsi (8), were on a family vacation in August 2005, they became fascinated with the appeal of treasure hunts. They were trying to locate the treasures hidden by Michael Stadther in his book, A Treasure's Trove, and they asked their parents about the historical basis for the clues in the movie, National Treasure.
The girls wondered whether you could use the appeal of treasure hunts to get kids and their parents to support a national goal. Asked what that goal should be, the girls said they wanted to help the families of military troops. They were inspired by their neighbor, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Lanier Ward, who had been severely injured in Iraq. Although the girls had already sent care packages from school and church and they had written letters to the soldiers, but they wanted to do something more.
The family discussion turned into the idea of creating a national treasure hunt game, based on American history and American values, which could encourage Americans to "thank" the troops through contributions and activities. After researching what programs are available to troops and their families, they decided to establish a scholarship program for the children and spouses of American troops using private, corporate and federal funding. Ultimately, both the treasure hunt and the scholarship program were grouped under the moniker of ThanksUSA, short for "Treasure Hunt Aiding Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving the United States of America."