Delta Flight Attendant Serves Up Journals for American Troops

Photo: Delta Flight Attendant Serves Up Drinks, Journals for American Troops: Robin Schmidt Has Sent Troops Hundreds of Journals Filled Out by Delta Passengers

In between keeping her passengers safe and comfortable, Delta flight attendant Robin Schmidt tends to another mid-air mission -- passing journals among the rows so passengers can help her thank American troops.

Over the last five years, Schmidt has filled hundreds of passenger-written journals and sent them to the troops she "adopts" in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not connected in any way to the military, Schmidt said, "This is just part of who I am. This is what I do."

VIDEO: Journal messages lift soldiers spirits

And on the other side of the world, she's got a lot of grateful military men and women.

"The soldiers often tell me when they get the journals it's hard for them to keep in their hands," Schmidt told, adding that others carry the notebooks with them to read during low moments.

Army National Guard Sgt. Timothy Gallagher, currently deployed in Afghanistan, said the six journals he's received from Schmidt are the most prized items she's sent.

"They will be with me forever. Something for the ages to look at and see the true spirit of the American people," he wrote to in an e-mail from Afghanistan. " All the passengers write their praises and thanks to the men and women in the armed services who do their duty and put their lives on the line so that others may live freely. "

Deployed with the Maine Army National Guard, Gallagher, 39, was "adopted" by Schmidt in May after she contacted him through his MySpace page.

"I get e-mails daily, postcards/letters weekly, and care packages monthly," he wrote. "She uses her imagination on what might make me/us smile and laugh, so just getting a package from her is fun in itself."

Inspired by fellow flight attendant LeAnne Hooper, who started passing journals for her deployed husband around the flight attendant's lounge, Schmidt got permission from Delta to hand out the journals on her domestic flights.

After her pre-flight announcements about safety and properly stowing bags, Schmidt tells the passengers about a soldier she has "adopted" -- who they are, where they are deployed and a little bit about her communication with them.

"A lot of times when I make that announcement, people will give me a big round of applause," she said.

Then she hands out two journals -- one to the front of the plane and one to the back -- and asks for volunteers to write in them. The entries can be about anything and everything.

Keeping a Promise to American Troops

Schmidt's troops have gotten jokes, thank you letters and memories from veterans who served before them. She's had Afghans and Iraqis write in the journals, thanking the American troops for helping their countrymen.

And on one flight, shortly after Schmidt started passing the journals around, one woman, she said with a laugh, wrote pages and pages about how she was contemplating cheating on her husband with a former flame at her high school reunion.

But she usually doesn't read the entries unless the passenger gives her permission.

"I don't feel like they're writing to me," she said.

Army Specialist Jonathan Pacheco told that he received about 20 journals from Schmidt during his two deployments to Iraq. Home at Fort Hood since late spring, Pacheco said he has kept every one she sent, though he shared them with others while overseas.

"I thought it was amazing," he said. "I didn't think there was that many people that supported the cause."

His journals, he said, were filled with messages of thanks, and condolences for soldiers lost.

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