Making a Difference for our Troops

Cheeks’ jokes send a message of caring

By Dana Trumbull

“I’m 78, and I don’t want to be a couch potato. I can still do something to make a difference in the world.”

Harold Cheeks, Navy veteran and Queen Creek resident, stopped by the office at The AJ/GC News last week, hoping that someone in the office would purchase his book, “Just A Few Smiles To Let You Know That We Care,” and take part in his project that aims to alleviate the loneliness and boredom that many active duty service men and women experience when stationed far from home. Of course, this is a newsroom, so we felt compelled to share his story.

Cheeks, a Vietnam-Era veteran served from 1958-62. One of his sons was a part of Desert Storm, and another is currently in the Navy with our nation’s submarine fleet. He knows how lonely it can be for our military men and women stationed around the globe. So when medical issues recently sidelined Cheeks, he decided to use the skills and knowledge that remained within his command to make a difference.

With encouragement from family and friends, Cheeks compiled an original collection of “the World’s Worst Jokes,” (as stated in the book’s introduction) and self-published them. He then “sells” them at cost for $4.00, with the caveat that the purchaser should write a note and have others in the office or among friends also add a few notes of appreciation within the pages of the book, then return it to him in a postage-paid envelope to be passed on to active duty military men and women.

Along with the book, he sends personal hygiene items – lotion, conditioner, hand sanitizer, etc. – paid for with money received from recycling used valve stems and wheel weights that local tire stores contribute toward the cause.

Meanwhile, Harold Cheeks has shown all of us that, with a little ingenuity and effort, it’s never too late to make a difference in the world.

Cheeks’ goal is to reach 5,000 young men and women. If you would like to contribute toward the cause, contact

Photo above: Harold Cheeks hopes to send a message of caring

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