MERRILL, WI (WAOW/CNN) - A Wisconsin woman who has sent thousands of holiday greeting cards to military members in the last few years got a special surprise this week.
Nancy Wilde arrived at the Merrill community enrichment center expecting to take part in a holiday party and play a little bingo.
But friends, family and even some service members had a better idea. They had come together to thank her for her kindness.
"I never expected this," Wilde said.
Two Marines showed up to honor her and about 30 family members and friends were on hand to witness it. To recognize her, the Marines presented her with an American flag that had flown in Afghanistan. Wilde was clearly moved and has plans to proudly fly the flag.
"I'm going to fly it in good weather," she said.
She has sent thousands of letters to support troops in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Wilde collected more than 2,000 holiday greeting cards, signed each one with a special message, and then sent them to members of the military serving overseas.
"She is one of a kind," organizer Barbara Ringwelski said. "Believe me, nobody could do what Nancy can do."
Wilde already is making plans for 2014, saying "We're going to do Easter too," she said.