Jerry McNerney , D-Pleasanton, was inspired to run for the U.S. House of Representatives by his son.
It was Michael McNerney who responded to a call for duty in the aftermath of the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, 2001, seeking and receiving a commission in the Air Force.
Today, the Congressman represents an area that includes San Joaquin County while working in Capitol Hill.
Still, his thoughts remain with the troops fighting abroad, in particular, those stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“It’s important that we remember them during the holidays,” McNerney told the Give Every Child A Chance students at Lincoln School on Monday.
“Can you imagine someone’s brother or sister not being home for Christmas?”
Most of the 120 youngsters in the after-school program took part in the Congressman’s Christmas cards-for-the-troops campaign.
All told, he was able to collect about 1,000 cards. Included were youngsters from a school in Tracy and another in San Ramon.
McNerney, who is scheduled to fly out to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, has been involved in sending holiday cards to the troops for the past three years.
“Writing letters to the soldiers, for us, was a two-day process,” said Michael Munoz, GECAC academic / site manager.
He mentioned to students that McNerney was the “surprise visitor” at Lincoln.
“They were excited,” Munoz said. “They were meeting someone who works with President (Obama).”
McNerney, in fact, responded to a student’s question on that very matter.
“We only see the President about three or four times a year,” he said. “I actually work for you – you’re my boss.”
McNerney did mention that any encounter with the Chief Executive has to be short and concise.
“The President is always very busy, very rushed,” he said. “So you have to be on your toes (in talking to the President).”
However, McNerney did have time to spend with the students, reading aloud their Christmas cards to the troops.
Many cards read: “Thank you for fighting for our country and keeping us safe – You matter!”
Students also wrote about their likes and interests – sports, cartoons, and foods, for example – on their Christmas cards to the troops.
“The important message here is that we’re letting them know how much we appreciate (what they’re doing for our country),” McNerney said.
To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com