College students around the nation are wrapping up both finals and holiday presents.

North Dakota State University senior Kelly Fratzel takes a moment out from her busy schedule to remind her fellow scholars to honor the sacrifices being made by our American service members, including one of her cousins who is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

During my time at NDSU, I’ve often felt relief as the fall semester comes to a close and the holidays approach. Nothing quite compares to the comfort of being surrounded by family, especially when you don’t see them for months on end.

Going to school several states away from home is a challenge. It’s not really an option to visit for a weekend. My loved ones and I have had to sacrifice significant moments because of my decision to come to Fargo.

My sacrifice, however, pales in comparison to thousands of others who will be spending this holiday even further away. Oftentimes they lead humble lives, work dangerous jobs and return to a thankless community.

My cousin Ray is one of these individuals. He has recently deployed for his second tour in Afghanistan as a MEDEVAC pilot. He is difficult to describe, because Ray is quite unlike anyone else I know.

He is the type who is always willing to help you move a baby grand piano, he never goes anywhere without a smile and he will buy a drink for the rival player, even after getting a mouthful of cleat on the rugby pitch.

Fratzel concludes with an expression of gratitude and a link to a source for more information on military charities.

There is nothing I look forward to more than spending the holidays with my family. Ray’s presence will undoubtedly be missed. If you could bottle his personality, you’d have a recipe for awesome. Nonetheless, we will leave a seat open, raise a glass in his honor and say a prayer for his safe return.

If you know of anyone at all who is serving overseas over the holidays, I hope you will consider sending him or her a token of appreciation. Even a small card saying that you are thinking about them means a great deal to a soldier. If you don’t have someone you are close to that is deployed this holiday season, there are several organizations dedicated to serving our troops. has an extensive list of groups that support service members and their families.

Read the original article:
Operation Family Christmas (NDSU Spectrum)