98-year-old sends hand-written letters to U.S. troops: “I’m going to write as long as I can”

LAKEWOOD, California — A 98-year-old grandmother has made it her mission to send letters to the heroes serving this country overseas. Her son served in the Vietnam War.

At a time when most conversations are instant, Alleen Cooper proves the art of letter-writing isn’t lost.

She started sending letters to America’s troops during World War II. They’ve gone to soldiers in harm’s way and the wounded in hospitals.

“One in Florida — he had to have a new ear, and I’m sure he was very, very depressed,” Cooper said.

All of Cooper’s letters are at least four pages long, and she keeps track of them — making sure no two are alike. At her kitchen table, she serves up comfort food for soldier’s souls — and they can’t seem to get enough. They have sent her commendations, and even flags from their bases.

KCAL connected Cooper and one of her Marines.

“It’s like, ‘oh my goodness! I’m just so pleased,'” Cooper said.

Cooper first wrote Staff Sgt. Chris Cantos years ago, when he was in a remote area of Afghanistan with no Wi-Fi. The only contact the Marines there had with home were letters.

“She would always send us clippings and jokes. She would tell us about her day,” SSGT Cantos said.

Cooper’s family said her connection to the troops is personal.

“She wrote every day to my brother. A lot of soldiers don’t get any mail at all,” Larry Cooper, Alleen Cooper’s son said.

Larry Cooper served in Vietnam. He survived, but still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Al of the time I think of these people and their families at home,” Alleen Cooper said.

Six years ago, Alleen Cooper started counting her letters. Since then, she’s sent nearly 7,000. She said her hands are getting tired, but this grandmother to the troops said her mission is far from over.

“I decided I’m going to write as long as I can,” Cooper said.