Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Bert Show Big Thank You sends 190K Thanksgiving letters to overseas military

This was posted Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by Rodney Ho on AJCs' Radio & TV Talk blog

The Bert Show, for an eighth year, collected enough Thanksgiving letters to provide at least one letter for every U.S. military person overseas at that time.

This year's goal was 150,000 and about 190,000 arrived by deadline. And although the Bert Show is only heard in a handful of states, they managed to get letters from almost every state in the union. (Alaska, Wyoming and New Mexico were exceptions.)

Tommy Owen, the Bert Show producer who handles the Big Thank You campaign, said they reached their mark late last week. He said the extras are sent out as well. "We sprinkle them in," he said.

Although they've cut it close in the past, they've always reached their goal.

Hundreds of volunteers hunkered down for two weeks in donated first-floor space provided by the landlord where Q100 is located. Every single letter was vetted by the volunteers to ensure they met proper size and content guidelines. Pitney Bowes pays the postage. Many were written by individuals. Others were written as school assignments. A few drew pictures of military people. One person even created a Mad Libs.

letter-mad-libs

"This is spectacular," Bert Weiss told the volunteers as they were finishing up boxing the letters. "Thank you for doing this with such great consistency every single year."

He later added in an interview: "After you do this awhile, it almost becomes routine but it's not routine when you think about... It's something I'm super proud of."

Brian Moote, in his first year helping out since joining the show earlier this year, is wearing a porn-stache to promote Movember to raise awareness of various cancers, such as prostate cancer. (Weiss said he tried it a couple of years ago but it came in so bad, a woman offered to donate $1,000 to the cause for him to shave it off.)

Brian Moote, doing his first Big Thank You, does the heavy lifting. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
Ron Burgundy's stunt double? Brian Moote! CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

Kristin Klingshirn is doing this for her fifth year, having arrived on the show in 2011. She has a brother in the Marines but fortunately, he is in Kentucky as a firefighter and not overseas so he won't be receiving a letter.

Kristin Klingshirn in full volunteer mode. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
kristin-klingshirn-laughing
This is the core committee that volunteers every year to ensure this works under the watchful eye of Tommy Owen (right).
I photobombed the Bert Show in reverse. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
Stacey Wasserman of Acworth has been volunteering for the Big Thank You for four years and is part of the core committee.
Teri Everett volunteered for the first time with three office mates from Logo Surfing Promotions in Winder. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
The man who put this all together: Tommy Owen. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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