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Love note project grows beyond Arizona

Former placement specialist Natalie Reilly’s new mission involves writing anonymous thank-you notes to military vets

Natalie Reilly
August 09, 2016

A former administrator has left ASU to expand a project to give anonymous thank-you notes to military veterans.

Natalie Reilly’s “Nothing But Love” began a few months ago with a handful of cards and now involves dozens of messages per month.

Reilly said it started when she was waiting to find out whether her mother’s cancer treatments were working. Rather than just sit, she wanted to do something that would allow her to express positivity and gratitude.  

It was February, and Reilly had a few leftover Valentine’s cards in her truck. She decided to use them to thank veterans for their service, which she said felt natural since she has members of the military in her family, including her son, Billy Reilly. She wrote short messages on the cards and started driving around looking for military license plates.

She found out shortly after delivering that first batch that her mother's cancer was in remission.

Six months later, Reilly has decided to leave her position as a placement specialist with Arizona State University to work on the project full time. Reilly said she hasn’t secured long-term funding, but she does have an army of volunteers who meet once a week to help her write notes. 

Here’s an example of her work and the response it generated:

Veteran thank-you note

Dear veteran: Our country is proud of you, and the courage you have shown is protecting us. You are strong and brave. Thank you. #nothingbutlovenotes

Firefighter Jeremiah Thompson found the note under his windshield wiper. It had been a bad day, and the message moved him deeply.

“Somebody actually sat down, wrote it down and took the time to give thanks,” he said. “After the day I was having, it really helped and it brought me to tears, and all I could do in that moment was to give a big hug and say, ‘thank you.’” 

Reilly said she plans to travel to Washington, D.C., next month to pass out more notes in the nation’s capital.

“There are times when you look around the world, and you say, ‘We need heroic acts’ to fix this, and the truth is you don’t. We just need to look at each other and say thank you.”

Reilly said that anyone who wants to get involved can contact her through her Nothing But Love Notes Facebook page.