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Michiana veteran writes letters to soldiers

BOURBON, Ind. -- A 97-year-old veterna from Michiana is showing his support for the newest generation of troops sending heartfelt letters to men and women in uniform who need them most. 

At almost 100 years old, Dale Smith isn't slowing down. 

"I've still got time left in this world," said Smith. 

He's spending his time writing.

"I chose to write to the trainees," said Smith. 

He's crafting the perfect letter for men and women in basic training. 

"You are doing an amazing job," said Smith. 

Dale started the project on July 21 after seeing his caregiver Rebecca Wampler write a letter to her grandson. Her grandson is in basic training. Since then, 107 have been sent. The first batch should arrive Thursday or Friday. 

"He said can I write to him too?" said Smith. "And I said sure."

Wampler posted about the experience to a military support Facebook page. 

"When I did, it became an avalanche after that," said Wampler. "People started asking will you please let him write one to my son."

Smith served as a lieutenant during World War II. He flew a B-17 and completed 29 bombing missions. Smith even won awards for his service. 

"I was glad to do it really because I was supporting my country," said Smith. 

Dale understands what most people can't. 

"The challenges and the endurance it will take," said Smith. 

He knows about the ups and downs. 

"Maybe I can give you a piece of advice," said Smith. 

He wants to pass along words that will keep these future soldiers going. 

"I think it's going to encourage them to know that with the words that he put into the letter," said Wampler. 

"Thank you for being in that one percent who stands with me in serving our great country," said Smith. "I'm still cheering you on and praying for your successful career."

Smith wants to keep writing until he can. If you know someone who may want a letter, you can email Wampler at rebecca.wampler@yahoo.com. 

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