16th MP Soldier receives keys to new 2007 Jeep Patriot
posted on Aug 04 2007 0 Comments
Operation Gratitude mails 250,000th package – 16th MP Soldier receives keys to new 2007 Jeep Patriot Blackanthem Military News, CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – Operation Gratitude celebrated its 250,000th care package in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a surprise 2007 Jeep Patriot Limited giveaway for one recipient of the 16th Military Police Brigade during a ceremony at Al Faw Palace July 24.
Army Maj. Kristian Sorensen, civil affairs officer, 16th MP Bde., submitted a roster of Soldiers to Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude’s founder, who coordinated the surprise.
The 250,000th care package was addressed to Sorensen since he submitted the roster. Inside this package was another package with the recipient’s name.
The recipient was Army Spc. Alfonso Sanchez, who initially didn’t sound off when his name was read because he was too surprised, he said. Sanchez opened the box and found a brochure, a letter, a few baseball hats and the keys to the vehicle.
“When they called my name I was shocked, stunned and I froze for a second double-checking that my last name was Sanchez,” he said. “I expected anything else but this vehicle. The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a Jeep brochure, but they give those at the Post Exchange. I was immediately nervous and shaky and couldn’t speak when I saw the keys. I don’t have enough words, but with all my heart thank you for all you do. Thank you.”
Operation Gratitude is not new to OIF or the unit, Sorensen said. He found out about Operation Gratitude in his first deployment and thought he had to share this with his unit in his second tour.
“These are excellent programs; it feels like Christmas every time,” Sorensen said. “It makes everyone feel good. Operation Gratitude, thank you very much. It does make a difference. It means a lot to us to know there are people thinking that we are all in this together. The great thing about this is both the servicemember and the support-letter writer will receive a set of keys.”
A letter from Blashek was enclosed in the package explaining how this initiative was created and coordinated. A partnership between Jeep, the New York Mets Major League Baseball team, a New York television station and New York auto dealers associations helped put both a servicemember and a support-letter writer each behind the wheel of a new vehicle.
“We are proud and humbled to contribute to a great organization like Operation Gratitude that does so much good in support of our troops,” stated Eric Neilsen, president of the New York Dealer Association, Sanchez read from a pamphlet. “The Jeep was originally developed to serve our military, and we are very pleased to be able to continue this tradition in a small way.”