A Little Bit of Gratitude Goes a Long Way!
Walking into Operation Gratitude, patriotism was so thick in the air that you could almost touch it. From humble beginnings, this non-profit has served our nations hero’s with one notion in mind: to show our men and women of the Armed Forces a token of gratitude for their sacrifices. Several thousand volunteers come out to support this non-profit organization. Men, Women and even whole families come out for the chance of putting together a box, a bear (known as battalion buddies), or writing sentiments to the boys and girls overseas, our first responders, veterans and military families. A mother of a battalion buddy recipient and spouse of a deployed soldier, “We are three months into the deployment. Ashlynn loves her bear so much! She takes it to daycare every day and sleeps with it every night. She said it reminds her of Daddy. I wanted to thank you again for all you do. You have made a difference in my daughter’s life.”
This whole operation began on the floor of a loving mother’s living room whose son was deployed during the War with Iraq. She would send him care packages that would help him get by while deployed. Soon after his first package, he would ask her to send one to some of his buddies who didn’t have families back home. As the list grew, Carolyn Blashek was in need of help. A group of her friends would answer that call for help and this became the beginning of the entire Operation.
This past December, Operation Gratitude had much to celebrate. This organization has put together their two millionth box. This box was assembled by World War II Veteran, Steve Politis who has been serving Operation Gratitude since 2009. “I came to an Operation Gratitude event, and I saw their Care Packages – turning out thousands per day to our Troops. Quite an accomplishment!” stated Politis in a past interview. Since its inception this organization has enlisted the help of many like Politis who share in “The American Way” of supporting our troops. Also many other organizations have come out to aid in their efforts. Organizations like Boy Scouts of America, California Highway Patrol, and many school clubs come out almost daily to volunteer.
Throughout the year this operation collects many donations from large and small businesses to send overseas. Some of the corporate sponsors included notable companies such as the Mars Wrigley Confectionary. The Vice President, Matt Montei came out to not only donate mounds of delicacies but also lend a hand in preparing the numerous amounts of care packages. He stated “It’s been a privilege to partner with Operation Gratitude ……As an Air Force Veteran, it’s a great feeling to know that we’re giving our troops a taste of home, and recognizing their ongoing sacrifice, commitment and dedication to serving us every day.”
For more information about Operation Gratitude go to www.operationgratitude.com.
Photos by Alexander Hafizi
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