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OU-COM spreads holiday cheer at home and abroad

College of Osteopathic Medicine sends greetings to troops and food, gifts to community

1st Lt. Jules Chan, left, and Lt. Col. Chaplain David Snyder display some of the
holiday cards sent to an Army medical unit in Afghanistan by OU-COM students,
faculty and staff.


By Richard Heck

Dec. 10, 2009


U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, children in Athens County and hungry families across Southeastern Ohio all received some holiday cheer from the students, faculty and staff of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM).

Led by members of the OU-COM chapter of the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (AMOPS), students and staff individually signed and sent 270 Christmas cards to members of the U.S. Army Task Force 30th MEDCOM,

which oversees all medical units currently stationed in Afghanistan. This is the project’s second year.

“I wanted to lead this project since I feel strongly about giving the troops something to look forward to during the Christmas season, since they are not home with their loved ones,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Nhu-An Nguyen, OMS I, who led the effort. “Sending cards to the troops abroad not only gives them a bit of holiday joy that we experience here in the U.S., but also it sends a message saying that we wish those soldiers well while we wait for their victorious return.”

The MEDCOM unit was selected to receive the cards because one of its members is a college friend of AMOPS president and U.S. Army Lt. Samuel N. Sigoloff, OMS II. Sigoloff, who graduated from Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, before coming to OU-COM, initiated the card drive last year during his first year of medical school.

“The main reason I started this program was to show our brothers- and sisters-in-arms, who are currently in harm’s way, that they may be strangers in a strange land, but they are loved and missed back home,” Sigoloff said.

According to an e-mail received from Sigoloff’s college friend, 1st Lt. Jules Chan, the cards will be displayed in his unit’s work area. “This is awesome,” Chan wrote. “The gift was much appreciated. Some cards are hanging up already.” 

Another member of the unit, 2nd Lt. Eric Kuyper, wrote that members of his unit were touched by the effort. “They did the same thing for my crew last year,” he wrote. “It’s a good job old Sig is doing for us over there.”


Meanwhile, staff members of the college’s offices of admissions, student affairs, medical development and alumni affairs, research and grants, institutional assessment, and communication collected nearly 300 pounds of boxed and canned goods for the Athens County Food Bank as part of their combined holiday “Give Together” celebration. Members of the academic affairs unit plan to collect donations for a variety of local organizations and charities at their celebration, planned for next week.

Finally, students, faculty and staff from across the college helped fulfill the wishes found on OU-COM’s annual “Giving Tree” in the Office of Student Affairs. Sigma Sigma Phi, the OU-COM chapter of the National Osteopathic Medical Honor Society, and Athens County Children Services sponsored the holiday tree, decorated with 75 ornaments. Each ornament contained the name of an Athens County child in need and his or her holiday wish list. Participants selected ornaments, purchased one or more of the listed gifts and gift-wrapped each item for delivery to the child.

“As of last week, all 75 ornaments were accounted for, and there were also additional requests for more,” said Sigma Sigma Phi member Jennifer Yee, OMS II, who organized this year’s Giving Tree project. 

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Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Last updated: 01/28/2016