Holiday Greetings Brighten Christmas for Soldiers' Families

By Ashanti Blaize
|  Friday, Dec 24, 2010  |  Updated 8:23 PM CDT
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Former Cowboys record Christmas messages with soldiers' families.

Ashanti Blaize, NBCDFW.com

Former Cowboys record Christmas messages with soldiers' families.

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A nonprofit organization, Verizon and two former Cowboys teamed up to make Christmas a little brighter for families of soldiers who are stationed overseas.

As part of Verizon's 45 Days to Super Bowl XLV, former Cowboys Tony Dorsett and Chad Hennings met with families Friday to record holiday greetings for their loved ones.

The Roppe family sent Sgt. First Class Tor Roppe a message from a Verizon store in Frisco.

"I can't thank them enough for allowing us to be here and giving us the opportunity to share this time with him," said his wife, Laura Roppe.

Her husband deployed to Afghanistan in August. This is the first Christmas the couple has not spent together in 10 years.

"It's a hard Christmas," Laura Roppe said. "It's going to be a struggle."

"We're able to get through it knowing that he's doing what he wants to do," she said.

It is the first Christmas the couple's youngest son, Aaron, will spend without his father.

"He's been here many a Christmas Eve and now, not," the 7-year-old said.

Aaron wears a dog tag that reads "with love from Dad" around his neck as a way to keep his father close to his heart.

"I'm going to wear it forever," he said.

And while Santa won't be able to deliver his Christmas wish this year -- for his father to come home -- Aaron was able to do the next best thing.

The Roppes said being able to say "Merry Christmas" to their soldier made the holiday that much better.

"Giving a 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' to those guys is not asking a whole lot," Dorsett said.

Hennings recorded messages with military families from an Arlington Verizon store.

The events were a joint effort between Operation Homefront and Verizon.

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